Profile – Rebecca Thomas, director of Electrick Children
The film follows a Mormon girl's exposure to life outside her community
Born 1984, Las Vegas
Background Having grown up in the Mormon faith, Thomas studied at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, before taking a graduate film production degree at Columbia University in New York. A short film she wrote, Nobody Knows You, Nobody Gives a Damn, premiered at Sundance in 2009. Her debut feature Electrick Children, a coming-of-age story about a Mormon teenager Rachel (played by Julia Garner) in Utah, who believes she is pregnant through an immaculate conception, was selected for the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year.
On the inspiration for Electrick Children ‘I was fascinated by stories of teenagers who were kicked out of their Mormon communities and who headed to Las Vegas still believing in their faith. And I really wanted to shoot a film in both the countryside of Southern Utah, where I have an extended family, and in Las Vegas where I grew up.’
On Mormonism ‘I’m no longer an active Mormon, but growing up as a mainstream Mormon has shaped the way I see family and friends and how I see the world. For me faith can be so many different things – it’s something that evolves. It can start from religion, and go somewhere else, and still be beautiful.’
On Julia Garner ‘I cast Julia just one week before shooting Electrick Children. She has a really interesting background, because she’s half-Israeli and grew up in New York. I wanted a young actress who could be innocent and brave and who looked angelic. There’s a depth in her eyes: you can see her character Rachel thinking and making decisions.’
Interesting Fact Aged 21, Thomas took a break from studying to spend 18 months as a Mormon missionary in Japan.
Electrick Children is on selected release from Fri 27 Jul.