Institute History

  • 2020 Sundance Film Festival


In the 1990s, the McDonald’s Monopoly game was ubiquitous, with widespread marketing drawing millions into the restaurants, everyone hoping to win prizes that ranged from sandwiches to vacations to cash prizes. Less well known is the network of players who were arrested on charges of defrauding McDonald’s out of more than $24 million by manipulating the Monopoly game. An investigation set in motion by an anonymous tip reveals memorable FBI agents, strange and hilarious prizewinners, and a remarkably complex scheme that mirrored the game itself.

First-time docuseries directors James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte present a forgotten American story, whose first wave of indictments took place just days before September 11, 2001—after which, headlines and hearts were focused elsewhere. Presented with humor and compassion, what initially seems like a victimless crime is ultimately revealed to be a conspiracy that continues to affect the lives of the people involved.

The Sundance Film Festival is pleased to show the first three episodes of this riveting docuseries.

— D.C.

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]