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Vera Farmiga Gets 'Higher'

Vera Farmiga is someone I've always liked as an actor--I found her the real star of "Up in the Air," even when every0ne was going nuts over Anna Kendrick. And the fact she used to star in the Fox series "Roar" opposite Heath Ledger only ups her cache in my eyes. But it turns out she's also quite a director, as evidenced by her debut, "Higher Ground," now in theaters. I'm not sure how the film did over the weekend--I believe it was set to play in three theaters, and I think two of them were closed due to Hurricane Irene. But hopefully the weather will be better this weekend and people can check out this little gem, which tells the story of a Fundamentalist Christian woman (Farmiga) who slowly begins to question her faith. Check out the above video for my conversations with Farmiga and her co-star Joshua Leonard.

I also had the pleasure of doing alive  Q&A with Farmiga and Leonard last week, and was impressed by what a natural director she seemed to be. You can tell how passionately she feels about the film, and even when the talkback was over, she stuck around to speak with everyone who waited. When you're dealing with a topic as tricky as faith (and the loss thereof) you're going to get people who feel very passionately one way or the other, and Farmiga was wonderful at explaining her feelings on the subject and how she chose to portray them in the film. Perhaps most interesting was how she said so many actors came into their auditions "judging" the characters, which you never want to do as a performer. It's a credit to her as a director and actor that she delivered a movie with such fully formed, three-dimensional characters.

--Jenelle Riley

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