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Farmiga joins Sundance line-up

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Vera Farmiga is returning to the festival that helped make her name

Vera Farmiga is returning to Sundance – seven years after scoring a career breakthrough with an acting prize at the film festival.

She returns with her directing debut, Higher Ground, which will compete for top honours at Robert Redford’s showcase for independent cinema.

Vera also stars as a woman coping with a crisis of faith in the film, one of 16 entries in the US dramatic competition at January’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Other US drama contenders announced on Wednesday include director Sam Levinson’s family wedding story The Reasonable Bunch, featuring Demi Moore, Kate Bosworth and Ellen Barkin; Matthew Chapman’s thriller The Ledge, starring Charlie Hunnam, Terrence Howard and Liv Tyler; Drake Doremus’ long-distance romance Like Crazy, with Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones; and the teen tales Homework, directed by Gavin Wiesen and starring Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore, and Terri, directed by Azazel Jacobs and featuring John C Reilly and Jacob Wysocki.

At the 2004 festival, Vera won a special jury prize for her performance as a wife and mother with a hardcore drug addiction in Down To The Bone.

Her career took off with roles in The Manchurian Candidate, The Departed, Orphan and Up In The Air, for which she earned a supporting-actress nomination at last season’s Academy Awards.

Higher Ground reflects a theme that runs among some of the 125 feature films at Sundance next month, said festival director John Cooper.

“The whole idea of religion and faith in films is sort of shocking this year for me, both with the films in the festival and even in films that we didn’t pick. It’s in the artists’ psyche somehow, right now,” he said.

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