The Sundance Institute announced the prestigious U.S. Dramatic Competition for the upcoming 2012 Sundance Film Festival and 16 films made the cut.  While major star power is lacking this time around, Michael Cera, Amanda Seyfried, Paul Dano, Jon Heder, Common, John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, Aubrey Plaza, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, Edward James Olmos, Lizzy Caplan, William H. Macy, Helen Hunt and John Hawkes all have films in the competition. 

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 19 - 29 in Park City, Utah.  A complete list of all the U.S. Dramatic Competition premieres is as follows:

2012 U.S. Dramatic Competition

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Screenwriters: Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar
Waters gonna rise up, wild animals gonna rerun from the grave, and everything south of the levee is goin’ under, in this tale of a six year old named Hushpuppy, who lives with her daddy at the edge of the world.
Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry.

The Comedy
Director: Rick Alverson
Screenwriters: Rick Alverson, Robert Donne, Colm O'Leary
Indifferent even to the prospects of inheriting his father's estate, Swanson whiles away his days with a group of aging Brooklyn hipsters, engaging in small acts of recreational cruelty and pacified boredom.
Cast: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Kate Lyn Sheil, Alexia Rassmusen, Gregg Turkington.

The End of Love
Director and screenwriter: Mark Webber
A young father unravels following the loss of the mother of his child.
Cast: Mark Webber, Shannyn Sossamon, Michael Cera, Jason Ritter, Amanda Seyfried, Frankie Shaw.

Filly Brown
Directors: Youssef Delara, Michael D. Olmos
Screenwriter: Youssef Delara
A Hip Hop-driven drama about a Mexican girl who rises to fame and consciousness as she copes with the incarceration of her mother through music.
Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Gina Rodriguez, Jenni Rivera, Edward James Olmos.

The First Time

Director and screenwriter: Jonathan Kasdan
Two high schoolers meet at a party. Over the course of a weekend, things turn magical, romantic, complicated and funny, as they discover what it's like to fall in love for the first time.
Cast: Brittany Robertson, Dylan O'Brien, Craig Roberts, James Frecheville, Victoria Justice.

For Ellen
Director and screenwriter: So Yong Kim
A struggling musician takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter.
Cast: Paul Dano, Jon Heder, Jena Malone, Margarita Levieva, Shay Mandigo.

Hello I Must Be Going
Director: Todd Louiso
creenwriter: Sarah Koskoff
Divorced, childless, demoralized and condemned to move back in with her parents at the age of 35, Amy Minsky's prospects look bleak – until the unexpected attention of a teenage boy changes everything.
Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Blythe Danner, Christopher Abbott, John Rubinstein, Julie White. Opening night selection.

Keep the Lights On
Director: Ira Sachs
Screenwriters: Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias
An autobiographically inspired story of a passionate long-term relationship between two men driven by addiction and secrets but bound by love and hopefulness.
Cast: Thure Lindhardt, Zachary Booth, Julianne Nicholson, Souleymane Sy Savane, Paprika Steen.

tor: Sheldon Candis
Screenwriters: Sheldon Candis, Justin Wilson
An orphaned 11-year-old boy is forced to face the unpleasant truth about his beloved uncle during one harrowing day in the streets of Baltimore.
Cast: Common, Michael Rainey Jr., Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton.

Middle Of Nowhere
Director and screenwriter: Ava DuVernay
When her husband is incarcerated, an African-American woman struggles to maintain her marriage and her identity.

Cast: Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Omari Hardwick, Lorraine Touissant, Edwina Findley.

Nobody Walks
Director: Ry Russo-Young
Screenwriters: Lena Dunham, Ry Russo-Young)
Martine, a young artist from New York, is invited into the home of a hip, liberal LA family for a week. Her presence unravels the family’s carefully maintained status quo, and a mess of sexual and emotional entanglements ensues.
Cast: John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, Rosemarie DeWitt, India Ennenga, Justin Kirk.

Safety Not Guaranteed
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Screenwriter: Derek Connolly
A trio of magazine employees investigate a classified ad seeking a partner for time travel. One employee develops feelings for the paranoid but compelling loner and seeks to discover what he’s really up to.
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karen Soni

Save the Date
Director: Michael Mohan
Screenwriters: Jeffrey Brown, Egan Reich, Michael Mohan
As her sister Beth prepares to get married, Sarah finds herself caught up in an intense post-breakup rebound. The two fumble through the redefined emotional landscape of modern day relationships, forced to relearn how to love and be loved.
Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend, Mark Webber.

Simon Killer
(France, U.S.A.)
Director and screenwriter: Antonio Campos
A recent college graduate goes to Paris after breaking up with his girlfriend of 5 years. Once there, he falls in love with a young prostitute and their fateful journey begins.
Cast: Brady Corbet, Mati Diop, Constance Rousseau, Michael Abiteboul, Solo.

Director: James Ponsoldt
Screenwriters: Susan Burke, James Ponsoldt
Kate and Charlie are a young married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of music, laughter and... drinking. When Kate decides to get sober, her new lifestyle brings troubling issues to the surface and calls into question her relationship with Charlie.
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally.

The Surrogate
Director and screenwriter: Ben Lewin
Mark O'Brien, a 36-year-old poet and journalist with an iron lung, decides he no longer wishes to be a virgin. With the help of his therapist and the guidance of his priest, he contacts a professional sex surrogate to take him on a journey to manhood.
Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy.

With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.