5Point Film Fest makes its mark | AspenTimes.com

5Point Film Fest makes its mark

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Joey Schusler's 10-minute film 'Huayhuash' captures his exploration of ancient trails in the Peruvian Andes with friends. The film makes its premiere at 5Point Film Festival.
Joey Schusler/courtesy photo |

if you go

What: 5Point Film Festival

Where: Carbondale Recreation Center

When: April 24-27

Tickets: http://5pointfilm.org

Everybody who has attended 5Point Film Festival in the seven years since it started knows that founder Julie Kennedy and her team put their mantra into play: It’s not about adventure porn. They want films that tell a story and feature a human element.

For this year’s event, April 24-27 in Carbondale, the festival crew not only put the concept into practice with film selections, they also helped make a couple of films become reality. Kennedy always has tried to help emerging filmmakers tell their story through small grants of between $1,000 and $2,000.

“Sometimes stories come to us,” said Sarah Wood, executive director of 5Point. Other times the team gets an idea and pitches the production of a film.

“We’ve made some of these happen over the years,” Wood said.

“We do try to generate and curate content.”
5Point founder Julie Kennedy

Kennedy added, “We do try to generate and curate content.”

This year, grants were given to the films “Nobody’s River” and “Huayhuash.” The 5Point crew learned about adventurer Amber Valenti’s desire to make a movie of an expedition during last year’s festival. She was getting lessons from cinematographer and director Skip Armstrong on capturing footage. Valenti was one of four women who traveled the free-flowing Amur River in summer 2013 from its Mongolian headwaters to a vast Russian delta and documented the experience. Armstrong pulled the footage together to tell the story in the 23-minute film.

Although Valenti and her colleagues already had the expedition planned when 5Point learned of it, Kennedy wanted to help out if even in a small way. The grant was “just a drop in the bucket” for making the film, Wood said. More important than the money was a commitment from 5Point to show the resulting film, according to Kennedy. That commitment assured other funders that the film would have exposure, she said.

“Nobody’s River” will make its world premiere at 5Point, as will “Huayhuash,” Joey Schusler’s 10-minute film about his exploration with friends of ancient trails in the Peruvian Andes by bicycle.

In another case, 5Point used its clout to help spur creation of a film. Wood and her crew saw a video clip in May of 15-year-old rock-climbing phenom Kai Lightener. The North Carolina-based climber, then 14, had placed fourth in his age class in a world competition. Wood said the 5Point crew urged one of Lightener’s prime sponsors, climbing gear maker Evolv, to make a film of the rising star. Once again, 5Point made a commitment to show the result film at the festival. The idea was embraced.

“Brands are using film as an authentic marketing tool,” Wood said.

The eight-minute film “14.C” by George Knowles will be aired at the festival.

5Point typically shows more than 50 films and probably has more than usual this year, Wood said. It different from most festivals of its type because it focuses on films less than 40 minutes. There are two longer feature films — “DamNation” and “McConkey.”

The festival annually has filled the auditorium at the Carbondale Recreation Center from the start. They will pack in more than 800 people. Full passes are no longer available but tickets to individual days were still available as of Friday. Go to http://5pointfilm.org and click on the link for tickets.

The goal of the organizers is create a common bond among audience members, regardless of whether the person is a climber or mountain biker, a 75-year-old grandma or a 14-year-old skateboarder.

“It’s not just our like-minded community,” Wood said.

In the spirit of inspiring people, 5Point is urging festival-goers to do more than sit in the dark. This year’s event features a “Participate and Get Involved” event that encourages people to experience the Carbondale outdoors. Attendees will have options of going on guided trails runs and mountain-bike rides or signing up to provide labor for a featured environmentally oriented nonprofit organization.

There are 12 outdoor activities to participate in or nonprofit projects to get involved in. “We definitely don’t preach or tell people how to get involved,” Wood said.

The audience mix at the festival is about 80 percent Roaring Fork Valley residents and 20 percent visitors from out of town, according to Wood. Visitors have asked in the past about outdoor activities. 5Point decided to help them out this year.

Guided outdoor activities include a trail run on Saturday morning to a backcountry ski tour on Sunday. Community involvement opportunities include the Roaring Fork Conservancy’s annual Fryingpan River Cleanup on Saturday and a bicycle tour of Carbondale’s solar power system on Sunday.

The addition of “Participate and Get Involved” is an example of how 5Point evolves to try to provide the best experience each year, Kennedy said. “It’s more like a film concert,” she said.