In his first directorial endeavor since Garden State, Zach Braff brought together an all-star cast for Wish I Was Here, a comic tearjerker touching on faith and family. Written by Braff and his brother Adam, the film was funded by Kickstarter, features Kate Hudson, Ashley Greene, Josh Gad, Jim Parsons, and Mandy Patinkin, and made its debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews.

“Because the movie was funded through Kickstarter, I got to make decisions that I normally wouldn’t have been able to make if there had been a studio involved,” Braff says. “It gave me a ton of freedom, especially in casting roles. Obviously, every director in the world wants to work with Kate Hudson, but in some of the smaller roles I didn’t have to fight anyone on who to hire.”

Braff wasn’t the only one who enjoyed working on the film: our July cover girl did as well. “Watching Zach work was a dream,” Hudson tells InStyle of shooting the movie. “I knew he was a wonderful actor, but as a director he was brilliant. He has such a clear vision, and he’s so certain about the things that he wants.”

In celebration of the upcoming release of Wish I Was Here, Braff curated a selection of music for the film’s official soundtrack, including exclusive new songs from The Shins, Coldplay, Cat Power, and Bon Iverwhich you can listen to now on npr.orgWish I Was HereMusic from the Motion Picture will be available from Columbia Records in stores and digitally July 15. A special vinyl version of the soundtrack will be released August 5. Pre-order the soundtrack now on wishiwasheremovie.com, and check out the movie when it hits theaters everywhere July 25.

With reporting by Sharon Clott