The recent 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, was a breakthrough, star-studded year for African-Americans.

At the annual festival, Ava DuVernay became the first Black woman in Sundance history to win the directing award for her film, “Middle of Nowhere,” about an African-American woman coping with her husband’s incarceration.

Meanwhile, the good vibes were felt throughout the various events. During a Q&A after the screening of Spike Lee’s new film, “Red Hook Summer,” Lee looked into the audience and said, “We doubled the Black population of Utah, maybe tripled it, up in this room.”

Lee’s film, about a preacher overcoming his urge to molest young boys, made some waves at the festival. “Spike makes the movies he wants to make. His film gets really dark. It looks fun, but it’s a hard ride,” said John Cooper, director of Sundance, at a Focus Forward breakfast. At the breakfast was also the announcement of a filmmaking challenge that would award the winner $200,000 for a 3-minute documentary.

In addition to DuVernay’s film about prison and Lee’s about pedophilia, many of the African-American movies screened at Sundance this year touched upon universal topics.

“People of color have been making films for a long time, but the majority is finally catching on. Isn’t that a wonderful thing?” quipped documentary filmmaker Sam Pollard, whose world premiere of the documentary “Slavery By Another Name” received a two-minute standing ovation.

The documentary is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name by Douglas A. Blackmon, which is about the many African-Americans who were re-enslaved in the South after the Civil War by white Southerners who wanted to regain power.

“It’s a subject matter that is important to African-American history, and I wanted to stay true to the story,” said Pollard. “We live in a new version of Jim Crow. The majority of people in prison are people of color. Why are there so many [Blacks] in prison? That’s something to look at and investigate.”

Blacks were omnipresent at the festival. “There were more people of color walking up and down Main Street this year than in 2002, when my short film [‘Whoa’] was screened at Sundance,” said filmmaker Adetoro Makinde, whose other short film, “In Time,” and feature film, “A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy,” screened at Sundance in 2005 and 2008, respectively.

In addition to filmmakers, there were African-American producers and distributors on hand either promoting their projects or looking to acquire films.

“Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams attended the festival to promote a transmedia project called “Question Bridge: Black Male,” which he produced along with Delroy Lindo and Dr. Deborah Willis. “Question Bridge” opens in New York on Feb. 4 at the Brooklyn Museum.

Lleju Productions CEO Bill Perkins sniffed around the festival for his next big hit.

“We were outbid for ‘Luv’ and undecided about two other films,” said Perkins, a commodities trader in Houston, Texas, who is involved in the production of many films, including Samuel Jackson’s “Unthinkable” and the recent release “Baytown Disco,” starring Eva Longoria.

Directed by newcomer Sheldon Candis, “Luv” stars Common, Danny Glover and Dennis Haysbert.

“Some people are shocked to see that the money man is Black, and then they may ask where I got the money,” said Perkins, who invests $1 million in films and advises that aspirants insert themselves at the top of the entertainment world with capital from another industry.

On a lighter note, Terence Nance directed and starred in the feature film “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty,” which is about love and self-awareness.

“Sundance represents a platform, a larger platform that I wouldn’t have had if I had not gotten into Sundance. Success is elevating the conversation,” said Nance, who is now traveling to a film festival in Rotterdam.