Aaron Stanley – Filmmaker

Posted on November 8, 2014 by


With breweries popping up all over the state quicker than craft beer aficionados can fill their growlers, a couple of Virginia filmmakers decided it was an appropriate time to document this rapidly growing industry. Aaron Stanley and Megan Troy traveled throughout the Commonwealth visiting breweries, bars, beer festivals, and hop farms for their documentary From Grain to Growler.

The filmmakers’ next stop is the Virginia Film Festival, where their documentary will hit the screen at 4 p.m. Sunday at The Paramount Theater. But before arriving in Charlottesville, Stanley agreed to tell us a little about himself, his passion, and what he’s looking forward to this weekend.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Stanley

Photo courtesy of Aaron Stanley

Aaron Stanley

Share your story. How did you get into filmmaking?

I have been a musician for over 15 years – and have written songs for various projects over that time. My interest in film grew, as I started helping out friends on their projects – mostly editing, storyboarding, and eventually shooting. Finally, with the inspiration and undying support from my partner Megan Troy, we decided to shoot and self-produce our first indie film – focusing on the growing beer scene in Virginia.

What drove you to pursue a career in filmmaking? Talk about your passions and any advice you have for the next generation of filmmakers.

Film is such an inspiring creative medium, and there are so many incredible things going on in the Indie film space right now. I really like the self-publishing model that seems to be emerging – as I think it gives you the creative freedom to pursue your vision. Social media, crowdsourcing, and digital production have lifted a lot of the barriers to entry for those interested in film – and I think the sky is the limit for how technology is changing our field. For instance, we just bought a drone to help us in our next project – for obtaining very specific overhead shots. This was something that did not exist even five years ago – at least at a cost that was feasible. Now the sky is literally the limit.

How many Virginia Film Festivals have you attended?

This is our first Virginia Film Festival and we are incredibly excited to be a part of it. We are huge fans of Charlottesville and both graduates of the University of Virginia, so this film festival is especially important to us.

What sets the Virginia Film Festival apart from other festivals?

Since this is our first, we have not had the opportunity to experience the VFF first-hand. However, just in checking out the film lineup and schedule of events, you can tell the precision and care that goes into putting on this event. And Charlottesville is just such a beautiful and wonderful city – I think that’s another thing that makes this event so special.

Finish this sentence. Filmmaking to me is …

Passion. There are a lot of little things that go into self-producing and publishing, and as a small production team, sometimes your passion for a project is the only thing that can push you through the obstacles and challenges you face. I am so excited to see films this weekend for a variety of reasons – from the creativity, to the music, to the shot selection – and the quality of the finished product all boils down to the passion of each individual filmmaker.

Will you be going to see any other films at the festival? If so, which films are you most excited about seeing?

We will go see as many films as the schedule permits. As far as specifics, I’ve heard good things about the documentary Art and Craft, and I think the subject matter is really interesting. We are definitely excited to see some of the other films in the Virginia Filmmaking category that will be featured as well like Big Significant Things and Led Zeppelin Played Here.

Where will you go for a quick bite between screenings?

This is our first VFF, but I can tell you that we are excited to try some of the great places on the Downtown Mall.

Where would you go for a post-screening drink?

Not to sound biased, but I would recommend one of the local breweries – Starr Hill, Champion or Three Notch’d come to mind. If you’re in the mood for a wider selection of craft beer, I would recommend Beer Run. They have a great selection of great beer, great food, and they provide a great atmosphere.

What local eatery would you recommend for dinner?

As far as local eatery I would say Mas for a nice dinner or Revolutionary Soup for something on the lighter side.