Frat House

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


Most people’s image of fraternities revolves primarily around their well-documented festivities (parties) and libations (beer). Undoubtedly, these events do take place. However, those of you hoping for a frolicking celebration of toga parties and beer bongs are in for a rude awakening. Frat House exposes the seedy underbelly of the male Greek system, hazing. If you thought it consisted of a little good-natured ribbing or some strenuous exercise, think again.

In the fall of 1996, Todd Phillips and Andrew Gurland set out to document what really goes on in fraternities. Little did they know how much they would have to suffer for their art. They went to all costs to capture the horrors of pledging. By immersing themselves (quite literally) into houses at two universities, they bravely ventured where no filmmaker has gone before.

Rather than a thorough examination of the sociological effects of frat life on young men, Frat House is an exposé of a world hitherto unexplored, due in part to a code of silence maintained by the people who go through the system. Breaking through this silence reveals a world of psychological manipulation, violence, and misogyny which frighteningly transcends stereotypical images. Impeccable editing, cinematography, and music contribute to a wonderfully crafted and disturbing descent, which culminates with the all-to-appropriately named HELL WEEK. Not for the faint of heart, Frat House is a powerful and disturbing film that should be seen by parents everywhere.

Todd Phillips and Andrew Gurland, Directors
Hailing from New York City and weighing in at 148 pounds, Todd Phillips attended NYU Film School, where he studied under Christine Choy. His senior thesis, Hated, a documentary about legendary punk rocker GG Allin, has won numerous awards, played theatrically, and garnered semicult status. He is currently editing his latest documentary.
Originally from Florida, Andrew Gurland graduated from NYU Film School in 1993. Then Gurland coproduced (with Todd Phillips) Screwed, a documentary focusing on porn mogul Al Goldstein. He is currently working on his first screenplay.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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]