Film Maker Greg Stump talks about filming Willie Nelson, and hoping to film Lukas Nelson

Greg Stump about Willie Nelson:  “I never met him that night. We were flies on the wall and he barely knew a camera crew was there. But oh my God, I thought, this guy is a master poet. I get it now.”

Vail Daily News
VAIL, Colorado — Just over two decades ago, filmmaker Greg Stump — who visits Vail Thursday night — set a new precedent in ski films with his movie “Blizzard of Aahhh’s.” While Stump’s cameras captured Scot Schmidt, Glen Plake, and Mike Hattrup dropping off sheer cliffs, the film shoved the sport of U.S. freeskiing out of the fringes and into the mainstream.

Stump, a pioneering-freestyle-skier-turned-ski-filmmaker, set a new standard in ski films in the late ‘80s, and now he’s circling back with his latest project, aptly titled “Legend of Aahhh’s,” which will premier this fall.

Stump has been working on this latest film for two years, he said.

“’Legend of Aahhhs’ is an intense project,” Stump said. “It circles around how ‘Blizzard’ changed so many things.”

Though “Blizzard of Aahh’s” is the film that really put Stump on the map, it wasn’t his first foray into crazy ski films.  “I was making ski movies for seven years before I hit my stride with ‘Blizzard,’” he said.

But Stump does more than make ski movies. He’s produced, filmed and directed hundreds of commercials and music videos for national and international clients including Swatch Watch, Coors, Adidas, Salomon, Wrigley’s, United Airlines, and, in 2000, a Disney Super Bowl commercial starring skateboard legend Tony Hawk.

His musician subjects include some heavy hitters as well — Willie Nelson, Seal, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Neil Young, Los Lonely Boys, Dinosaur Jr. and The Beach Boys.

But it’s that first one, Willie Nelson, that sticks out to Stump, even though he wasn’t a fan of the musician before he filmed a show Nelson put on in Maui.

“I never met him that night. We were flies on the wall and he barely knew a camera crew was there. But oh my God, I thought, this guy is a master poet. I get it now.”

Though he wasn’t being paid for the film, and Nelson hadn’t even given the project his blessing, he spent six months editing the footage and finally got the chance to show it to Nelson.

“I’m sweating bullets, just as nervous as can be,” Stump said. “I’m hung over, dripping sweat. Willy is sitting behind me and my friends are standing by the door. Shaking, I turn this thing on. This opening I made played and Willie Nelson leans over and says, ‘Can you stop that?’

“I’m going ‘Oh man, he’s not even going to see it’ but then he said to me, ‘That opening you just put in there, that’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.”

To this day, he and Nelson remain friends and Stump says he’ll likely be filming Nelson’s son in the near future.

“Lukas (Nelson), who I got to know when he was a little kid, is now 21 and he’s playing guitar like Jimmy Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan rolled into one and singing like his dad and Bob Dylan. He opened for B.B. King, Blues Traveler and Dave Matthews Band. And not just because he’s Willie’s son. He’s killing it on stage.”

Read the entire article at:
http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20100210/AE/100219964/1078&ParentProfile=1062

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