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Victor Salva

Victor Salva

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Also Known As: Victor R Salva Died:
Born: March 29, 1958 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Contra Costa County, California, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, child-care center worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This talented, passionate and sensitive writer-director of films of the fantastic segued from obscurity to controversy literally overnight with the release of "Powder" (1995), his first major feature. Co-produced by Hollywood Pictures, a subdivision of Disney, and Caravan Pictures, this surprisingly sober and intelligent fable told the unusual story of a boy genius with snow-white skin and a strange relationship to electricity whose physical oddity becomes a lightning rod for intolerance in a small Texas town. Though the film boasted an extraordinary central performance from Sean Patrick Flanery (TV's "Young Indiana Jones") and outstanding support from Lance Henriksen, Jeff Goldblum and Mary Steenburgen, filmmaker Salva found himself unpleasantly in the spotlight when his 1987 conviction for a sex crime with a minor surfaced practically on the eve of his potential career breakthrough. (See "Notes" and "Milestones" for details on Salva's crime and punishment. Suffice it to say here that while many filmmakers have become intimately involved with their stars, rarely have the results been so tragic for all parties involved.) The second highest grossing film of its opening weekend, "Powder" was dismissed...

This talented, passionate and sensitive writer-director of films of the fantastic segued from obscurity to controversy literally overnight with the release of "Powder" (1995), his first major feature. Co-produced by Hollywood Pictures, a subdivision of Disney, and Caravan Pictures, this surprisingly sober and intelligent fable told the unusual story of a boy genius with snow-white skin and a strange relationship to electricity whose physical oddity becomes a lightning rod for intolerance in a small Texas town. Though the film boasted an extraordinary central performance from Sean Patrick Flanery (TV's "Young Indiana Jones") and outstanding support from Lance Henriksen, Jeff Goldblum and Mary Steenburgen, filmmaker Salva found himself unpleasantly in the spotlight when his 1987 conviction for a sex crime with a minor surfaced practically on the eve of his potential career breakthrough. (See "Notes" and "Milestones" for details on Salva's crime and punishment. Suffice it to say here that while many filmmakers have become intimately involved with their stars, rarely have the results been so tragic for all parties involved.) The second highest grossing film of its opening weekend, "Powder" was dismissed by many reviewers who seemed more put off by its seriousness than its maker's notoriety.

A filmmaker since the age of 12, Salva made numerous shorts on video. He gained industry attention and several awards with his film "Something in the Basement". Salva began an association with Francis Ford Coppola which lead to the auteur's son Roman serving as executive in charge of production on his first feature "Clownhouse" (1988). This creepy story economically demonstrated how a young boy learns that his long held fear of clowns is actually well warranted. Reminiscent of the early work of writer-director John Carpenter, the film derives much of its tension from a savvy use of deep focus to emphasize background action. Despite amateurish performances, corny heavy-handed music, and erratic sound recording, "Clownhouse" revealed a genuine talent working with generic material in a personal and resonant manner. After an enforced career hiatus, Salva returned to filmmaking with "Nature of the Beast" (1995), a direct-to-video genre outing starring Lance Henriksen and went on to helm the similarly direct-to-video drama "Rites of Passage" (1999) about a troubled family. Francis Ford Coppola served as executive producer of "Jeepers Creepers" (2001), Salva's first theatrical release in over five years. A surprisingly clever, stylish and scary entry in the teen horror genre, the film spawned a 2003 sequel which Salva also wrote and directed.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Dark House (2014)
2.
3.
4.
  Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003) Director
5.
  Jeepers Creepers (2001) Director
6.
  Rites of Passage (1999) Director
7.
  Powder (1995) Director
8.
  Nature of the Beast (1995) Director
9.
  Clownhouse (1989) Director

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began making films at age 12
:
Entered his film "Something in the Basement" into a national competition
:
Came to the attention of Francis Ford Coppola
1987:
Pleaded guilty to having and filming unlawful oral sex with a minor--Nathan Forrest Winters, the 12-year-old star of "Clownhouse" and another previous Salva film; sentenced to three years (served 15 months) at the California Training Facility in Soledad
1988:
Feature debut as writer-director, "Clownhouse"; Coppola's son Roman served as executive in charge of production; first film from fledgling Commercial Pictures
1989:
"Clownhouse" shown at US Film Festival in Park City, UT; reportedly first horror film to be shown at festival
1990:
"Clownhouse" received US release direct-to-video
1992:
Completed parole
1995:
Completed second feature as writer-director, "Nature of the Beast" starring Lance Henriksen; released direct-to-video
1995:
Completed first theatrically released feature, "Powder", a fantasy co-produced by the Walt Disney Company subdivision, Hollywood Pictures, and Caravan Pictures
1995:
Nathan Winters appeared at an industry screening of "Powder" in Los Angeles and urged the audience not to support the film
1999:
Returned to features as writer-director of "Rites of Passage", featuring Jason Behr
2001:
Wrote and directed "Jeepers Creepers", executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola
2006:
Directed the big screen adaptation of Dan Millman's bestselling autobiography, "Peaceful Warrior", which tells the true story of a college student training to be an Olympic gymnast whose life is changed when he meets a mysterious mentor
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Salva's videotape "Something in the Basement" won a Bronze Plaque at the Columbus International Film Festival, a CableACE Award, and First Place in a competition sponsored by Sony and the American Film Institute for non-professional fiction films made with a home camcorder.

From press kit for "Powder":

Mary Steenburgen notes, "I always have thought that films take on a director's personality. I look back on films I've made and I believe they are very indicative of the man or woman who made them. Victor is a really lovely man, who is an incredibly sensitive, funny, imaginative, vulnerable, and warm human being. I think and hope that this movie is a lot like Victor, because I think it's a movie that is very much of the heart."

From "Kiddie-Sex Victim Slams Molester's Disney Flick" by Gersh Kuntzman in New York Post, October 25, 1995:

Salva was convicted in 1988 of one count of lewd and lascivious behavior, one count of oral copulation with a minor and three counts of using a child under 14 for pornography.

"It just makes me sick," the victim, Nathan Winters, now 20, said of Salva's return to filmmaking. He should not be allowed to live his life as if nothing happened... "

Winters, then 12, was starring in Salva's low-budget film "Clownhouse" when Salva assaulted him and filmed the incident.

Salva, who was 30 at the time and had previously worked at a local child-care center, served 15 months in prison and finished his parole in 1992.

"How deeply I regret my actions," Salva told Variety this week. "I paid for my mistakes dearly."

From press kit for "Powder":

"I really believe in Victor in every sense," says Lance Henriksen. "I believe he is going to develop a very unique style, a language of his own. When I approach a script, I look for what is the writer's passion, what made him write it, because that's where the adventure begins. I think Victor is struggling with some very authentic questions about his own life in a very romantic way. His artistic expression is so uniquely romantic, almost musical, and my response to it is immediate. With Victor's script it's an adventure to see if I can be as subtle and authentic as he is in the writing."

From "No Disney Puff for 'Powder'" by Michael Fleming:

"I'm so proud of him [Nathan Winters]," said Winters' mother, Rebecca. "If [Salva] thinks Nathan and other people will sit quietly while he makes $25 million films for Disney and forget what he is, he's mistaken. He's a pedophile."

"[Winters] talked to 400 people at that screening," his mom said, "and there was total silence. About three people confronted him and said Salva should be left alone, that he'd done his time. He told them, 'I don't think a year and one half compares to my life sentence.'"

From "Lifeline" in USA Today, October 25, 1995:

"What happened eight years ago has nothing to do with this movie," counters Roger Birnbaum, whose Caravan Pictures made the movie for Disney.

Family close complete family listing

sister:
Sheryl Salva. Born in February 1957.
brother:
Ronald Salva. Born in October 1959.
half-sister:
Corine T Darrow. Born in September 1961.

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