Film director's past worries school officials
St. Petersburg Times September 01, 2000, Friday,
South Pinellas Edition Pg. 5B
Compiled from Times wires
DATELINE: TALLAHASSEE; OCALA; MIAMI; PANAMA CITY
School board members are upset they weren't told that a movie director who is making a low-budget horror film near two Marion County schools was a convicted child molester.
Members of the Marion County School Board had already agreed to let director Victor Salva and his film crew near Dunnellon Elementary and Dunnellon High School.
When they approved the contract, board members weren't told that Salva was a convicted child molester who once videotaped himself having oral sex with a 12-year-old actor in California.
Salva, sentenced to three years in state prison, served 15 months and completed parole in 1992.
Salva is filming a $ 10-million horror film titled Jeepers Creepers in Marion County.
Director's history causes controversy
DATELINE: DUNNELLON, Fla., Aug. 30
United Press International August 30, 2000, Wednesday
Filming on a motion picture continues outside three Dunnellon, Fla., public schools although school officials have learned the director is a convicted sex offender.
Hopes of having students visit the set of "Jeepers Creepers" or serve as interns have been dropped since Victor Salva's past came to light.
The $10 million film is being produced by American Zoetrope, a company owned by famed director Francis Ford Coppola, who is serving as executive producer. Coppola is not expected to visit the set.
Salva was paroled in 1992 after serving 15 months of a three-year sentence for five felony counts based on sexual involvement with a 12-year-old boy in 1988. The boy appeared in a low-budget film he directed. Salva also directed "Powder," "Nature of the Beast," and "Rites of Passage." He has registered with police as a sex offender as required by Florida law.
Marion County school officials were not told about Salva's criminal record when location director Sue Gummerson negotiated payment for use of parts of a street ouside the elementary, middle and high schools.
Although the filming is being done largely at night, street closings have required rerouting school buses. An abandoned high school and rural areas will also be used as film locations.
"We have a drama department and we also have a TV production class," Dunnellon High School assistant principal Cynthia Saunders said. "We were talking about what could we get out of it educationally."
Once she learned of Salva's past, the idea of having students interact with the film crew was abandoned. On-set publicist Joe Hemingway said Salva has paid his debt to society and was focused on making the film. He said they never offered to have students on the set. The filming will take about two months.
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