Electrick Children at Berlin Film Festival
I first fell in love with independent film when I was six years old. I rarely got a chance to rent movies and we were visiting family friends who were happy to host movie night. It started with a battle at the video store. My Mom's vote was for some film called Stealing Beauty and my interests were more along the lines of Beauty and the Beast. She won out and I scowled all the way there.
I was determined not to like it. I was prepared to immaturely imitate the performances and mock the plot line. I tended to do that when I didn't get my way. However, as much as I didn't want to like it, I was mesmerized. It was shot differently than most films I had seen before (studio produced) but it still captured my attention. The camera was shakier, there were more close ups, the performances felt more intimate. Also, I'm convinced there is some unspoken rule that independent films must have an out of this world soundtrack. They always find the most unique song and gracefully incorporate it into the scene.
Last year, I got the opportunity to work on one of those films. I had read the script the Spring before and I knew it was something special because I had never read anything like it before. Throughout the summer, I got updates on the film and tried not to get my hopes up. Independent film production is unpredictable, you're working with dozens of various schedules, hoping that everyone can join together to make a movie. This particular film, Electrick Children was being shot on location in Utah and Nevada. It wasn't until I got an e-mail with locked down shoot dates that I actually stopped holding my breath.
I was ecstatic to be on location in Las Vegas. It was really fun staying in a hotel with the rest of the cast and crew. It only makes sense to stay up all night the few days before filming because it sets you on a nocturnal clock when you're doing night shoots. It was surreal to have one eye on the monitor watching the scenes unfold before me. There were times when it would randomly start raining in the midst of an outdoor shoot at 3AM and we all had to huddle underneath the tent waiting for the rain to subside. Those were the moments when everyone was in it together trying to get the shots we needed.
After you make an independent film, the best you can hope for is that people will actually get to see it. Electrick Children is a contestant in the Best First Feature at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 10, 2012. It will debut in the United States at SXSW in March. It was written and directed by Rebecca Thomas. The producers are Jessica Caldwell and Richard Neustadter.
The cast includes Julia Garner, Rory Culkin, Liam Aiken, Bill Sage, Cynthia Watros, Billy Zane, John Patrick Amedori, Rachel Pirard, Cassidy Gard, and Paola Baldion.
Synopsis: Pregnant by music? On her 15th birthday, Rachel, a young Mormon girl from a fundamentalist Utah community, discovers a forbidden cassette tape with rock music on it. Having never heard anything like it, she has a miraculous experience and three months later, claims to have had an immaculate conception from listening to the music. Her parents arrange a marriage, but Rachel runs away to the closest city, LAS VEGAS, to search for the man who sings on the tape, thinking he has something to do with her mysterious pregnancy...
I'm beyond grateful to be part of such a beautiful film.