As the Mecca of independent movies and the starting point for some of the industry’s most talented and innovative artists, every moviemaker dreams of making it to Sundance. And for some Columbia University School of the Arts alums, the dream just became a reality.

Of 16 movies selected to take part in this year’s U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance, four were written and directed by Columbia alumni, each of them in competition for the coveted Grand Jury Prize. The four movies recognized at the festival and their Columbia alum creators include Amreeka, written and directed by Cherien Dabis (Film ’04); Cold Souls, written and directed by Sophie Barthes (SIPA ’03, studied in Film); Dare, directed by Adam Salky (Film ’08), written and co-produced by David Brind (Film ’08) and produced by Mary Jane Skalski (Film Faculty); and Toe To Toe, written and directed by Emily Abt (Film ’04).

And if past alum success is any indication, with Columbia University School of the Arts alumni winning the Grand Jury Prize in Dramatic Competition the last two years in a row (Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River in 2008 and Christopher Zalla and Ben Odell’s Padre Nuestro in 2007), it looks as though one of these four movies might entitle Columbia University with the bragging rights of a yet another victory at Sundance.