‘Concrete Solitude’ and ‘North Country’ show today at 5Point festival | AspenTimes.com

‘Concrete Solitude’ and ‘North Country’ show today at 5Point festival

Andrew Travers
The Aspen Times


What: ‘Concrete Solitude’ & ‘North Country’ at 5Point Adventure Film Festival

When: Program 1, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m.

Where: eventive.org; 5pointfilm.org

How much: Single program $20; All Access Passes $55-$75

More info: The program includes a total of 10 films. The festival runs through Sunday, Oct. 18.

‘Concrete Solitude’

Filmmaker Perry Gershkaw doesn’t need any words to tell the viewer what’s happening in “Concrete Solitude,” a four-minute skateboarding short that offers a potent portrait of the novel coronavirus pandemic’s impact on American cities.

We see skaters Ellisa Steamer, Sam Buchanan and Kyle Buthman on solo rides around the deserted streets of San Francisco during the city’s shelter-in-place order.

The silence of the empty metropolis is broken only by the whir of skate wheels on concrete and birds chirping. Gershkaw employs extra wide overhead drone shots to show the skaters as the only moving things through the grid of the city, even crossing a traffic-less Golden Gate Bridge.

We roll by the historic Castro Theatre, baring the marquee message: “Stay healthy and safe and we’ll be back soon,” we pass a “Not All Heroes Wear Capes” poster supporting for local emergency medical workers and a graffiti mural reading “We will get through this together.”

Skaters roll through Chinatown and bomb the steeps of Balboa — blowing through stop signs with no fear of cross traffic.

It’s a haunting setting, gorgeously captured — the kind of empty city environment that filmmakers have historically spent lavishly and planned meticulously to achieve, like the famous empty Times Square dream sequence that opens “Vanilla Sky.” It still challenges the viewer to believe this is documentary footage from 2020.

“Concrete Solitude” will screen in Wednesday night’s opening program at the virtual 5Point Adventure Film Festival.

‘North Country’

America’s oldest ski shop is celebrating its centennial anniversary in 2020 and in “North Country,” screening Wednesday night at the 5Point Adventure Film Festival,” filmmaker Nick Martini tells the story of this remarkable family business.

The 20-minute documentary details the history of the shop and profiles family patriarch Joe Lahout, who was born in 1922 in the Lattleton, New Hampshire, building that still houses the ski shop.

His parents, Lebanese immigrants, opened the shop and were instrumental in the U.S. recreational skiing boom that followed World War II, alongside Joe who came home to ski after serving overseas.

A fourth generation of the Lahouts, Anthony, takes the reins of Lahouts in the film.

“Skiing is the most religious thing I do,” she says in the film, adding of his connection with his grandfather: “We have an innate connection that involves skiing and how we are wired.”

Peppered with fascinating historical footage from early ski trams and on-mountain scenes from the 1930s and ’40s, it also includes a colorful section about the shop’s wild days through the ski bum era of the ’70s and the hard-partying ’80s. But at heart, it’s the story of a family and the story of a ski community that anybody in the Roaring Fork Valley will recognize.

5Point head of programming Charlie Turnbull called it one of his favorite titles in the 2020 lineup.

“It’s a beautiful story about an immigrant family from Lebanon and how they came to the U.S. and were a big part of the emergence of the skiing industry in the United States,” Turnbull said. “It’s a heartwarming story and an Aspen crowd will get it.”