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First Look: Vera Farmiga's Adaptation Of Carolyn Brigg's Religious Memoir 'Higher Ground'

The Playlist By Simon Dang | The Playlist December 6, 2010 at 2:46AM

Following her Oscar-nominated turn in Jason Reitman's "Up In The Air" alongside George Clooney and Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga took up a supporting role in Duncan Jones' sci-fi thriller "Source Code" before deciding to try her hand at directing with an adaptation of Carolyn Briggs' religious memoir "This Dark World: A Memoir Of Salvation Lost And Found."
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Following her Oscar-nominated turn in Jason Reitman's "Up In The Air" alongside George Clooney and Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga took up a supporting role in Duncan Jones' sci-fi thriller "Source Code" before deciding to try her hand at directing with an adaptation of Carolyn Briggs' religious memoir "This Dark World: A Memoir Of Salvation Lost And Found."

As it's a starring vehicle and her debut behind the camera, Farmiga intelligently surrounded herself with an experienced, talented cast which includes fellow indie-world vet Joshua Leonard ("Humpday"), Sundance specialist John Hawkes ("Winter's Bone"), Dagmara Dominczyk ("Kinsey"), television staples Donna Murphy and Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and the Tony Award-winning trio of Bill Irwin, Donna Murphy and Norbert Leo Butz. And with the dark religious tale just accepted into the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, we now have our first look at the pic.


Described early in its conception as "the journey of a troubled young woman from childhood to motherhood," the film will follow the story of protagonist Briggs as she "turns to a fundamentalist community for answers, but after years of dogma and loss, she must find the courage to ask the questions that will help her reclaim her life." Here's a more detailed synopsis of the novel, courtesy of Amazon.

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.

As we mentioned, Farmiga will be taking the film to Park City, where she herself broke out in 2004 with a Special Jury Prize-winning gritty performance in Debra Granik's debut "Down To The Bone." Returning now, she'll be hoping to repeat her success and catch the attention of distributors, which shouldn't be too much trouble considering the talent involved here. A thoughtful, well-spoken woman, we're particularly excited to see how Farmiga performs behind the camera having worked with such helmers as Martin Scorsese, Anthony Minghella as well as Granik, Reitman and Jones in recent times.

Renn Hawkey, Carly Hugo, Claude Dal Farra and Jon Rubinstein are producing the BCDF Pictures film with Jonathan Burkhart, Brice Dal Farra, Lauren Munsch and Matt Parker executive producing. [Collider]

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Actresses, Higher Ground, John Hawkes, Joshua Leonard, Vera Farmiga


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