5Point: Meaghan Lynch prepares for first time running Carbondale show

5Point Film executive director Meaghan Lynch took over the nonprofit in November.
Courtesy photo |

If You Go

What: 5Point Film Festival

Where: Carbondale Rec Center and elsewhere, Carbondale

When: Through Sunday

How much: $10-$34 per program

Tickets and more info:



1 p.m. Student Special Film Program

7 Film Program II


11 a.m. Youth Adventure Film

12: 30 p.m. Ice Cream Social and Community Picnic

2:30 Best of 10 Years Film Program

7 Film Program III


Noon Film Program IV

4 p.m. Sunday Surprise and Awards

As she prepares for her first 5Point Film Festival at the helm of the nonprofit as its executive director, Meaghan Lynch’s enthusiasm for the 5Point mission is unflagging.

“It’s a reminder of what’s good in the world,” Lynch said of the four-day festival of adventure film, art, inspiration and special guests, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this weekend. “It’s nice to step back and be reminded of that through the power of film.”

The Colorado College alumna moved to the Roaring Fork Valley five years ago to work in the marketing department at Aspen Skiing Co., but she first attended 5Point back in 2009. An uncle of hers worked for Patagonia, which was an early sponsor of the festival, and he brought Lynch into the fold early on.

“It really inspired me,” she said of that first experience. “It shook my world.”

In the years since, she’s volunteered and attended the festival and — like many in the valley — developed a passionate connection to the annual film festival and its titular five points (respect, commitment, humility, purpose and balance).

Lynch, 30, is an embodiment of the 5Point spirit who chose a life in the mountains instead of a more lucrative one as an accountant in New York City. She lives to ski and trail-run and has been known, on little more than a whim, to tackle endurance events like the Grand Traverse Mountain Run (though she joked that since she took over 5Point in November, she spends most of her time watching “films about other people getting outside”).

Since the fall, she’s been hustling to put together the 2017 festival, sifting through 550 film submissions. Lynch has worked alongside 5Point creative director Erik Wardell and 5Point founder Julie Kennedy, who retired last year but remains hands-on, as Lynch put it, “adding her magic touch and putting the Julie juice on there.”

As the legion of 5Point has grown over the past decade, the festival has sold out earlier and earlier each year — tickets for this year’s primetime Friday and Saturday night programs went almost immediately. So Lynch spearheaded adding more film programs and more opportunities to have a 5Point experience without a ticket. For example, all this weekend, the plaza at Fourth and Main streets is open all weekend with street games, podcast tapings, live music and a beer garden.

“We’re mountain people, we’re not planners,” Lynch said. “So we’ve added a few programs to try to open it up more.”

The 10th annual festival also includes a best-of program, with encore screenings of memorable movies from the 5Point decade, and a new surprise program on Sunday, for which films and special guests won’t be announced in advance.

“After 10 years, people can trust our program at this point and know the quality of what they’re going to get,” Lynch said of the surprise program.

Though 5Point has expanded its reach nationally with its “On the Road” presentations in recent years, it’s long been an article of faith that 5Point’s flagship festival will remain in Carbondale with screenings in the Carbondale Recreation Center — it won’t be diluted in a bigger venue or a more spread-out festival. Lynch said she wants to hold on to the creative and community spirit that’s made 5Point a success.

She does, however, have an eye on expanding lesser-known 5Point programs, like its Film Fund, which offers financial backing to filmmakers, and its Dream Project, which gives scholarships to local high schoolers to turn creative ideas into reality.

Lynch believes it’s no coincidence that 5Point’s rise — and its cherished communal experience — has coincided with the cultural takeover by digital technology as smartphones have brought us a glut of content but also isolated us from one another. In our siloed era, the great coming-together of 5Point is all the more valuable, she argued.

“It doesn’t matter how much we consume content through our tech devices. Sitting with your community in a place like that gymnasium, that can’t be replicated through technology,” she said. “It goes back to what makes us human, and that’s one thing technology will never be able to replace.”

The theme of this year’s festival is “Adventure Belongs to All,” and the festival follows thorough with an inclusive global vision of who and what constitutes adventure. The idea is the heart of Lynch’s vision for 5Point.

“If your best adventure is putting on a pair of Keds and walking around your block one extra time, then that’s great,” Lynch said. “Adventure is relative. So we’ve brought a lot of diversity into the program this year, in age and in culture, and tried to emphasize that.”