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Vera Farmiga Directing 'Higher Ground,' Now Casting

Vera Farmiga Academy Award-nominated actress Vera Farmiga will make her directing debut with the indie film Higher Ground, in which she will also star. Higher Ground is based on Carolyn S. Brigg's memoir This Dark World, about "one woman's immersion into Fundamentalist faith and her decision, 20 years later, to leave it all behind."

The news was first reported by /Film and TheWrap.com in April (via Twitter from Production Weekly), but not much else about the project was known -- until now. Casting directors are currently seeking a "full-figured, sensual, confident" female actress who is "comfortable with her body" for an unspecified role in the film, which has begun shooting this month in New York.

From the BackStage.com casting notice for Higher Ground:

'HIGHER GROUND'

Higher Ground Entertainment is casting Higher Ground, an independent feature-length film directed by and starring Academy Award nominee Vera Farmiga (acting credits include The Departed, Orphan, and Up in the Air). Shoots June 23 in the Kingston, NY/Ulster County area.

Seeking—Actress: 18-39, full-figured, sensual, confident, comfortable with her body, to play a sexy and womanly cat-caller, no nudity. Note: You would have a significant featured role in a scene with Vera Farmiga. Extensive acting experience is not necessary but helpful; a confident, outgoing personality is of much greater importance. You do not have to be local to the Kingston, NY/Ulster County area, but must be able to self report.

For more details and to apply online, check out the complete casting notice at BackStage.com.

This news is interesting, in part, because it is still relatively rare for an actress to move behind the camera and take a seat in the director's chair. But for most of her career, Farmiga has been a champion of indie film and expanding women's roles in the film industry. Before the Academy Awards -- where she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Up in the Air -- Farmiga participated in a roundtable discussion to talk about whether the film business has changed for women, and how women can take more control of the industry for themselves:

For more info about Farmiga's upcoming film, here is a synopsis of This Dark World (as posted by /Film):

Carolyn Briggs grew up with modest means in the Iowa heartland. Pregnant at seventeen, married a few months later, by the age of eighteen she found herself living in a trailer with no plans beyond having more babies-until she found Jesus. It began innocently enough -- a few minutes lingering on the televangelist stations, a cursory look at the Bible -- and soon she had wholly given herself over to a radical, apocalyptic New Testament church. Her daily life was permeated with a sense of the divine-she spent hours a day in prayer and Bible study, wore modest clothing, even braced herself for the Rapture every time she heard trumpet music over the supermarket loudspeaker. It was only when her marriage began to unravel that Carolyn dared to question the religious dogma she had embraced for all of her adult life to date.

Farmiga will soon be seen onscreen in Henry's Crime, co-written by Anvil! The Story of Anvil director Sacha Gervasi and starring Keanu Reeves; Madonna's W.E.; and Duncan Jones' sci-film Source Code, co-starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

-- Daniel Lehman

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