A Mormon and native of Las Vegas who cites as influences "The Wizard of Oz" and "My So-Called Life," director Rebecca Thomas uses "Electrick Children" to explore the story of a "precocious yet sheltered girl living with her Mormon fundamentalist family," who experiences a spiritual awakening on her fifteenth birthday after discovering a rock 'n roll cassette tape. Claiming pregnancy by way of immaculate conception three months later, Rachel runs away to Las Vegas in search of the tape's bewitching voice.
What should audiences take away from this film? "For me, the film is about Rachel's transition of faith. It is a small transition, but she is only 15. Rachel sees the world optimistically and trusts herself. I wanted to show the world through her eyes, so it was important to me to represent the communities, both in Utah and Las Vegas, without judgement."
What else can you tell us about yourself: "I took a break from studying film at Brigham Young University to serve a Mormon mission in Japan. I went on to pursue my MFA at Columbia University. I like anime and scrabble."
An internet angel: "Originally, I was raising money via Kickstarter to make a micro-budget movie. Through Kickstarter, I was able to find an angel investor/producer. Over night, the scope of the project changed. There were a few hiccups in the transition, but all in all, I have no complaints. I was incredibly lucky."
Anything in the pipeline? "A post-apocalyptic adaptation of the Little Mermaid set in Japan."
Indiewire invited AFI FEST competition directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival. Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.