Film Debate Interview with Writer/Director Daniel Stine

Adam Snowden – March 11th, 2018


To begin with, tell us about your latest film ‘Virginia Minnesota’, what is it about?
Virginia Minnesota is my first feature film. It’s about two girls who are unexpectedly reunited after being separated by a childhood tragedy. They are forced to confront their past, and in doing so, they revisit both painful memories and rediscover lost innocence and what it means to truly believe. It’s a drama-comedy – perhaps in the vein of Little Miss Sunshine or Big Fish.

How did you get involved with the film? Where did the idea come from?
I created the story based on stories I’d been told by my grandparents. They ran a home for young kids from troubled families, and I found their experiences both sad and uplifting at the same time. And I’m inspired by unique locations more than anything else, and when I came across Minnesota’s Lake Superior coastline – with all its history, folklore and natural beauty – I knew I had a special place to tell this story.

Tell us about the cast, who is starring in ‘Virginia Minnesota’?
The film stars Aurora Perrineau and Rachel Hendrix as the two young women who are reunited (Addison and Lyle). They are incredible in the film and have already won “Exception Emerging Artist” awards for their performances. The supporting cast is equally impressive. Susan Walters is superb as Aurora’s estranged mother. Carl Palmer is hilarious as her doofus boyfriend. Eyas Younis is the ultimate showman in his role as a flamboyant, traveling theatre troupe leader. Jessica Miesel and Julia Keefe add a rich layer of humor and poignancy as two old friends of Addison and Lyle. The younger versions of Addison and Lyle played by Ava Justin and Kyli Nault (local Minnesota actresses) both did a great job and give us a powerful insight into what those characters experienced years before. Aaron Hill gives a very effective and understated performance in his role of Addison’s way-to-nice fiancé. Emma Reaves, who I’ve worked with on everything I’ve done practically, is always perfect. She adds great dimensions to everything she touches. Bradley Hasemeyer plays a Minnesota highway patrolman and his portrayal is both funny and strangely intimidating. I play a small role in there as well!

What are your influences as a filmmaker?
I was a Spielberg kid. But I’ve absorbed so much from so many different filmmakers and kinds of movies.

What advice would you have for any up-and-coming filmmakers, trying to break into the industry?
I’m still trying to find a way to “break into the industry” too! The industry is so vague now though. Everyone can make a film. People are making films with their phones now. Short films were a great stepping stone for me. But my advice – if you’re passionate and you have a vision, surround yourself with like-minded and talented people. And keep watching movies! Keep studying them. And just shoot something – you’ll hone your craft and find your voice.

When and where can we expect to see “Virginia Minnesota”?
It’s doing the festival circuit now, but we’re hoping to get a distribution deal in the near future. We’ll keep posting screening updates on Facebook, etc.

What is the next step for you, do you have any other films or projects In production?
I’ve got scripts! Got lots of those, but it’s always a challenge to get them resourced. But I have a psychological thriller that I’m dying to make…