At home in Aspen: ‘5Point Unlocked’ brings free film festival to you


5Point Unlocked Friday Night – Part Two

Friday, April 24, 7 p.m.

Hosted by Wade Newsom

5Point Unlocked Kids at Heart – Part Three

Sunday April 26, 3 p.m. (runtime 60 minutes)

Hosted by Rueben Sadowsky

Registration and more info at

Arriving home from a climbing trip to Patagonia last month, 5Point Film founder Julie Kennedy got word that her fellow mountaineers on the trip — a group from Slovenia — fell ill when they returned home and tested positive for COVID-19.

She soon did, too, recovering at home here.

“It kicked my ass,” she recalled. “It is a voodoo not to be reckoned with.”

But as she was on the mend from the virus that has caused a global public health and economic crisis, the indefatigable Kennedy also had work to do. The in-person edition of the popular and beloved Carbondale-based adventure festival she founded was canceled, along with most public gatherings, so she dove into the 5Point archives to help stage a virtual version for the far-flung 5Point tribe to experience at home.

The 5Point team, led by executive director Regna Jones, had been working since October to book new films and the signature surprise in-person guests for the 2020 festival, which would have been running this week. They’ve rescheduled it for October.

“To have the rug pulled out from underneath them so close to the festival was soul-crushing,” Kennedy said.

From her quarantine, she called the team and offered to help make a virtual version happen, encouraging them with advice from her mentor, Yvon Chouinard: “He who rides out the storm with a vengeance will come out on the other side the winner.”

They decided to put together a three-night experience celebrating a life of adventure, hosted by familiar 5Point figures, filled with favorite films selected by Kennedy from the first 12 offerings of the festival, for an online audience in the Roaring Fork Valley and around the world.

“You can come to the festival in your pajamas,” Kennedy said. “Get a bottle of red wine and a pizza and instead of watching all the negative, scary things out there we’ve all been inundated with, take a break and be in that 5Point stoke moment. We hope it’s a reminder that yes, this is what our lives are all about and it’s not going to be long until we can go back at it.”

The presentations opened Wednesday night with an Earth Day-themed program hosted by big mountain skier Chris Davenport.

It continues Friday night, with 5Point staple and spoken word poet Wade Newsom as emcee of a program that includes 5Point classic shorts like Alex Honnold free-soloing in “El Sondero Luminoso,” Ben Page’s “The Frozen Road” and the inspiring “Duct Tape Surfing.”

Newsom, who now lives in Southern California, signed on as soon as Jones reached out to him.

“We wanted to connect the 5Point tribe and do something for the community,” Newsom said. “It’s so much bigger than just a film festival. Being able to feel some kind of connection to the life that’s on pause right now, that’s really important right now.”

Newsom will be virtually hosting from his living room, performing himself, introducing films and virtual special guests, including film subjects like the legendary San Diego rollerblader known as “Slomo,” who was the subject of a 2013 5Point selection and skated into the Carbondale Rec Center for a guest talk that year.

The presentations will also include “Life in Lockdown” vignettes with adventurers and filmmakers reporting on how they’ve been coping during the pandemic.

Also among the film selections is “Last Weekend” by local filmmakers Sarah Uhl and Carl Zoch, about how they’re keeping their adventurous spirits up while tethered to home during the stay-home mandate, biking and skiing around Mount Sopris.

Sunday afternoon’s hourlong program, hosted by Rueben Sadowsky, includes family-friendly fare and will include guests like BMX biker Erik Aguilar, who at age 13 was the subject of the 5Point selection “Tailwhip.”

The programs are being offered to the 5Point community free of charge. Registrants are suggested to donate $10 to support 5Point and the 5Point Film Fund. The 5Point team is hopeful the program will offer some light at the end of the tunnel during this time of crisis.

“It’ll provide some perspective that can get lost,” Newsom said. “It’s about hope and perseverance, but it’s also a reminder that we are a strong tribe and we will get through it. When we get together again, and we can hug each other again, I think we’ll be stronger and we’ll take things for granted less.”


PHOTOS: Sardy House Christmas tree lighting

The annual Sardy House Christmas tree lighting was held on a snowy Sunday, Dec. 3. Locals and visitors alike drank hot chocolate and ate cookies as they awaited the holiday tradition.

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