Director's Notes

The events inspiring Finding Virginia took place nearly twenty years ago. The whole community was shocked at the senselessness of this tragic loss, and more shocked that the events had taken place so publicly. It was our goal to build a story of allegorical, fictitious characters to bring to life the brutal sense of discovery, loss and tragedy that we all felt and that has haunted every one close to the events. The characters and events of the film are not intended to be true to life. Instead, they were created to help all of us experience and come to terms with the senselessness of such tragedy.

Filming in my hometown of Decatur, Illinois was essential to me. Like nowhere else, Decatur personifies the now ancient and epic struggle between the raw crudeness of industrialization and the quiet, spiritual nature of farm life. Moreover, while the vast open cornfields of central Illinois allow you to see for miles, it is difficult to have a true clarity of vision of events occurring right in front of you; sight is not the same as understanding. One of the great tragedies of this story was the community's inability to comprehend what was really happening that terrible night. With the help of my co-writer Stephanie Gold, we set out to explore the meaning of those horrific events and find the heroism that defined Ginny's strength of character.

Gus van Sant and David Lynch have always inspired me through their mastery of context, sequencing and repetition. Filmmaking itself is an exercise of these ideas, from the writing of the story to the repeated working of a scene to the process of editing. Finding Virginia explores the nature of communication using repetition, sequencing, context and perspective to create and enhance meaning. Accordingly, I shot with three cameras for most of the film. This provided me with the footage to create a sense of altered time and fluctuating perspective thereby conveying the painful process of discovery that rests at the very heart of Finding Virginia.