It's also an acknowledgment that people who work in film - directors like Campion - are looking to tell stories in whatever format allows them story flexibility.
"They're now choosing the longer form as the medium to tell their stories, rather than trying to compress them into a film format," said Iain Canning, executive producer of "Top of the Lake" as well as the Academy Award-winning film "The King's Speech." "And they're actually seeing the positives of that."
While both "Top of the Lake" and "Rectify" could have been produced as two-hour movies, a lot would have been lost.
"In a way, it's about our worlds colliding," Canning said. "The wonderful thing for us is we get to tell the stories we want to tell in the format that best fits the story. For this, it was seven episodes. For 'The King's Speech,' it was two hours."
With two Oscar-winners involved, "Top of the Lake" has the kind of pedigree most indie Sundance films lack.
Both TV shows were shot on location. "Top of the Lake" was filmed in New Zealand, while "Rectify" was filmed in Georgia.
"Because that's where I'm from and I didn't want to see a stray cactus hanging out by the plantation," creator/writer Ray McKinnon said.
Watching the miniseries at Sundance will be a different experience from watching the shows at home when they air on the Sundance Channel, cast and crew said.
"There's a big difference in the impact it has on you," Young said. "Being a filmmaker and an editor, you put it up on the big screen and you go, 'Oh, that's a very different story.' You're allowed a certain geographical space that the screen provides you. Television doesn't necessarily give you that."
Canning is enthusiastic about the opportunity to watch the show in a Sundance theater.
"I've never had a film in Sundance," he said. "I've had films at other festivals. So I'm looking forward to the experience."
In part, that's because these projects are outside the Sundance rat race. Producers aren't seeking distributors. "We can actually just sit there and be brave and let people watch the six hours," Canning said with a laugh.