Salva in 2000
|Born||Victor Ronald Salva
March 29, 1958
Martinez, California, United States
|Years active||1986 – present|
|Awards||Moxie! Award for Best Feature – Santa Monica Film Festival
1999 Rites of Passage
Victor Ronald Salva (born March 29, 1958) is an American film director. He is best known for directing the films Powder and Jeepers Creepers. He has attracted controversy for being a convicted sex offender.
Born in Martinez, California, 20 miles outside San Francisco, Victor Salva had written and directed over 20 short and feature-length films before graduating from high school. To finance his filmmaking hobby, he often held two jobs during the week. His biological father abandoned the family and Salva reports that his stepfather was often drunk and physically abusive.
Like a lot of kids growing up in the East Bay town of Martinez in the early ’70s, the adolescent Salva lived on a diet rich in horror and sci-fi. His favorite monster movie: ”Creature from the Black Lagoon.” In 1975, the local newspaper reported that a kid named Salva had sat through ”Jaws” a record 68 times.
Salva was expelled from the family at eighteen when he confessed his homosexuality to his mother and step father.
Salva describes his films as "Atmospheric and macabre, with no happy endings, but not to be taken totally seriously."
In the mid-'80s his 37-minute short Something in the Basement (1986) took first place in the fiction category at the Sony/AFI Home Video Competition. A horror allegory about a young boy awaiting his brother's return from a bloody war, this highly acclaimed short went on to win several national awards (including a Bronze Plaque at the Chicago International Film festival) and brought Salva to the attention of Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola then produced Salva's first theatrical feature, Clownhouse (1989), which Salva again wrote and directed. Using the talented cast of his award-winning short, Salva called the film "a campfire story."
Salva's early career was derailed by the revelations of sexual misconduct with one of the film's underage stars. Salva plead guilty to one count of lewd and lascivious conduct, one count of oral sex with a person under 14, and three counts of procuring child pornography.  Salva was sentenced to three years in prison, of which he served 15 months. He described it as "a dark time in my confused young life, but also a time when I took responsibility for my own arrested development and the ramifications of growing up in a deeply dysfunctional family." He credited this realization to having read The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
Salva's career took a hiatus after his release, working as a telemarketer during the week and writing scripts during the weekend, supposedly delivering them to well known producers posing as a delivery boy, not making another film for 5 years after his release.
His next film based on characters he met in prison, The Nature of the Beast (1995), which Salva wrote and directed, starred Lance Henriksen and Eric Roberts and quickly became New Line Cinema's biggest direct-to-video title of that year. Salva next made his first big-studio picture, Powder (1995), a strange tale about an albino boy with special powers that ironically make him an outcast. "Powder" received much critical acclaim and made several top-ten lists for the year.
When talking about Powder, Salva said "[It] contains many of my thoughts from my time in prison in its subtext. It was a terrible time for me, enduring the constant taunts. I often felt like Flanery's albino character. My power did not come from within myself, though; my close friend Francis gave me that power. He visited me weekly, we discussed my crimes. Francis helped me to accept my past . . . which is certainly powerful!"
He next made Rites of Passage (1999), a coming-of-age thriller starring Jason Behr (Roswell High (1999)), Dean Stockwell and James Remar which dealt with a homophobic father who unwittingly pushes his gay son into the arms of a psychotic killer. In 2001 Salva wrote and directed Jeepers Creepers (2001), which was one of the year's breakout hits and set a world record for largest Labor Day box-office ever. Salva followed this up with his sixth feature film, Jeepers Creepers II (2003), breaking his old record and setting another Labor Day milestone. His next film, Peaceful Warrior (2006), an adaptation of Dan Millman's best-seller _"The Way of the Peaceful Warrior", was very significant to him because of the year he spent in prison. The film starred Nick Nolte and Amy Smart.
- "California Registered Sex Offender Profile – Victor Salva". Megan's Law – California Sex Offender Registry. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
- Victor Salva at the Internet Movie Database
- Media reports archive related to the director's sexual molestation of a child actor and his films Powder and Jeepers Creepers
- Victor Salva's entry at Florida Sex Offender Registry