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December 2, 2009 8:56 AM
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Sundance 2010: U.S. Dramatic Competition

A scene from Derek Cianfrance's "Blue Valentine." Image courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival.

This year’s 16 films were selected from 1,058 submissions. Each film is a world premiere.

Blue Valentine (Director: Derek Cianfrance; Screenwriters: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne, Joey Curtis and Faith Wladyka)—A complex portrait of an American marriage, "Blue Valentine" charts the evolution of a relationship over time. Cast: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Mike Vogel, John Doman. World Premiere (iW Film Page)

Douchebag (Director: Drake Doremus; Screenwriters: Lindsay Stidham, Drake Doremus, Jonathan Schwartz and Andrew Dickler)—On the verge of getting married, Sam Nussbaum insists he escort his younger brother, Tom, on a wild goose chase of a journey to find Tom's fifth grade girlfriend. Cast: Andrew Dickler, Ben York Jones, Marguerite Moreau, Nicole Vicius, Amy Ferguson, Wendi McClendon-Covey. World Premiere

The Dry Land (Director and screenwriter: Ryan Piers Williams)—A U.S. soldier returning home from war struggles to reconcile his experiences abroad with the life and family he left in Texas. Cast: America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama, Ethan Suplee, June Diane Raphael, Melissa Leo. World Premiere

happythankyoumoreplease (Director and screenwriter: Josh Radnor)—Six New Yorkers negotiate love, friendship, and gratitude at a time when they're too old to be precocious and not ready to be adults. Cast: Malin Akerman, Josh Radnor, Kate Mara, Zoe Kazan, Tony Hale, Pablo Schreiber, Michael Algieri. World Premiere

Hesher (Director: Spencer Susser; Screenwriters: Spencer Susser and David Michod)—A mysterious, anarchical trickster descends on the lives of a family struggling to deal with a painful loss. Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Rainn Wilson, Devin Brochu, Piper Laurie, John Carroll Lynch. World Premiere

Holy Rollers (Director: Kevin Tyler Asch; Screenwriter: Antonio Macia)—A young Hasidic man, seduced by money, power and opportunity, becomes an international Ecstasy smuggler. Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Danny A. Abeckaser, Ari Graynor, Jason Fuchs. World Premiere

Howl (Directors: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman; Screenwriters: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman)—A nonfiction drama about the young Allen Ginsberg finding his voice, the creation of his groundbreaking poem "HOWL," and the landmark obscenity trial that followed. Cast: James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels. World Premiere (iW Film Page)

The Imperialists are still Alive! (Director and screenwriter: Zeina Durra)—Juggling the sudden abduction of her childhood sweetheart as well as a blooming love affair, a French Manhattanite makes her way as an artist in an indifferent, sometimes hostile world. Cast: Élodie Bouchez, José María de Tavira, Karim Saleh Karolina Muller, Marianna Kulukundis, Rita Ackerman. World Premiere

Lovers of Hate (Director and screenwriter: Bryan Poyser)—The shaky reunion of estranged brothers takes a turn for the worse when the woman they both love chooses one over the other. Cast: Chris Doubek, Heather Kafka, Alex Karpovsky, Zach Green. World Premiere

Night Catches Us (Director and Screenwriter: Tanya Hamilton)—In 1978, complex political and emotional forces are set in motion when a young man returns to the race-torn Philadelphia neighborhood where he came of age during the Black Power movement. Cast: Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, Jamie Hector, Wendell Pierce, Jamara Griffin. World Premiere

Obselidia (Director and screenwriter: Diane Bell)—A lonely librarian believes love is obsolete until a road trip to Death Valley with a beguiling cinema projectionist teaches him otherwise. Cast: Gaynor Howe, Michael Piccirilli, Frank Hoyt Taylor. World Premiere (iW Film Page)

Skateland (Director: Anthony Burns; Screenwriters: Anthony Burns, Brandon Freeman, Heath Freeman)—In the early 1980s, in small-town Texas, dramatic events force a 19-year-old skating rink manager to look at his life in a very new way. Cast: Shiloh Fernandez, A.J. Buckley, Ashley Greene, Brett Cullen, Ellen Hollman, Heath Freeman. World Premiere (iW Film Page)

Sympathy for Delicious (Director: Mark Ruffalo; Screenwriter: Christopher Thornton)—A newly paralyzed DJ gets more than he bargained for when he seeks out the world of faith healing. Cast: Orlando Bloom, Mark Ruffalo, Juliette Lewis, Laura Linney, John Carroll Lynch. World Premiere

3 Backyards (Director and Screenwriter: Eric Mendelsohn)—A quiet suburban town becomes an intense emotional terrain for three residents over the course of one curious autumn day. Cast: Embeth Davidtz, Edie Falco, Elias Koteas, Rachel Resheff, Kathryn Erbe, Danai Gurira. World Premiere

Welcome to the Rileys (Director Jake Scott; Screenwriter: Ken Hixon)—On a business trip to New Orleans, a damaged man seeks salvation by caring for a wayward young woman. Cast: James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, Melissa Leo. World Premiere

Winter’s Bone (Director: Debra Granik; Screenwriters: Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini)—An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser, Kevin Breznahan, Isaiah Stone. World Premiere

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