This year's Sundance Film Festival was an embarrassment of riches, and it's likely that a significant number of the films I saw there will wind up on my Top Ten of the year when all is said and done (I mean, unless Jack and Jill turns out to be some kind of masterpiece-- you never know!) But even amid stiff competition, Vera Farmiga's directorial debut Higher Ground really stood out for me. When I gushed about it in my review from the festival, I called it "a lyrical and heartfelt kind of coming-of-age story tinged with large questions about religion and family that never overpower the emotional central narrative."

Higher Ground is finally getting a theatrical release on August 26, and the first trailer has debuted at Apple. You can watch it there in high-res or embedded below.

For about 10 seconds, starting at the 20-second mark, you can see Farmiga's character being played as a teenage by an actress who looks startlingly like her. That's because it's her sister, Taissa, who'd never acted before this film. The cast is also rounded out with a bunch of excellent names, from Broadway stars Donna Murphy and Norbert Leo Butz (who won a Tony earlier this year) to indie stalwarts Joshua Leonard and Winter's Bone's John Hawkes. Even if you have no interest in Christianity or seeing a movie about a woman struggling with her faith, Higher Ground has so much more to it, from gripping family drama to some sublimely ridiculous humor. Plus if you caught Farmiga in Source Code earlier this year and thought she seemed on autopilot, check this out as a reminder of how insanely talented she really is.

The movie comes out in limited release later this summer, but of course, these things have been known to expand, so keep an eye out for it.

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