The 25-year-old is starring and producing "The Dry Land," which follows a young man's difficulties readapting to small town life following a tour of duty.
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Ferrera says the United States "should have an honest discussion about the effects that war has on our society, on the men who come back, on the families that are broken from it."
She said Friday in a phone interview she hopes the film ignites such discussion.
Ryan O'Nan and Melisa Leo also star in the movie, which was written and directed by Ferrera's beau, Ryan Piers Williams.