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5Point passes the torch

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Courtesy Julie KennedyBeda Calhoun, left, and Julie Kennedy of the 5Point Film Festival. Kennedy persuaded the 21-year-old Calhoun to take the position of program director of the festival, which opens Friday in Carbondale.
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CARBONDALE ” On Monday, Beda Calhoun starts training for a new job, waiting tables at Carbondale’s Phat Thai. Chances are excellent that she will burst through the door full of confidence and energy, first-day jitters be damned.

Calhoun comes to her new job fresh off her current one ” as program director of the 5Point Film Festival, the second edition of which opens Friday, and runs through Sunday. Calhoun is 21, and still a college student; the 5Point position, in fact, has been structured as an internship for which she gets a full year’s credit through Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Wash. Despite her age and relative inexperience ” Calhoun’s job resume includes little more than waiting tables, leading backcountry trips, and making extremely earth-friendly smoothies ” Julie Kennedy, the founder and director of 5Point pats herself on the back for making such an astute hire.

“She is my total partner ” but she does so much more than I do,” said Kennedy, a former publisher of Climbing magazine. “She’s the one who came up with the idea of making this year’s festival about social consciousness. And at 21, she’s telling me, ‘Don’t worry.'”



Apart from running the festival with someone who has a major hand in everything from programming to sponsorships to graphic design, the hiring of Calhoun furthers one of the principal goals of 5Point: to pass the torch on to the next generation of adventurers, filmmakers and environmentalists. A central event of last year’s inaugural festival was a panel discussion that featured parent-child teams of outdoor athletes, talking about handing down lessons of respect, humility and balance. With Calhoun on board, the 54-year-old Kennedy says she is handing over a good portion of responsibility for the festival. Calhoun intends to stay on for the next year and handle day-to-day operations, while Kennedy provides the creative vision.

Calhoun missed last year’s 5Point; she was studying in India at the time. She was introduced to Kennedy through a mutual friend not long after the festival, when Kennedy was still reeling from having launched the event. Kennedy floated the idea of Calhoun’s lending a hand, and Calhoun had a geographical interest in accepting the offer.




“I’d been looking for ways to stick around” Carbondale, said Calhoun, a North Carolina product who was a boarding student at Carbondale Rocky Mountain School. “I was trying to find ways not to go back to rainy Washington.”

Calhoun began working with 5Point last August, and over the months she has piled responsibilities on her plate. She works with media and graphic designers, helped create a mission statement and selected films that fit that vision, contacted athletes to appear at the festival.

“There’s no way I could ever learn this in a classroom,” she said. “The people I’ve been able to meet ” it’s incredible, at 21, to be involved with these accomplished people.”

Along with the festival and her new waitressing job, Calhoun has one more piece of her professional puzzle. She and a partner will continue the business they started last year: the Pedal Palace, a smoothie operation that produced essentially no carbon emissions. Calhoun and friends bring fresh, organic fruit from Delta County, Colo. over McClure Pass by bicycle, then use a solar-powered ice grinder and cycle-fueled blenders to make their concoctions. This year, they plan to set up shop at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival ” arriving by bike ” and at Carbondale Mountain Fair.

Calhoun credits the 5Point experience with letting her think big, and outside the box.

“5Point is a complete inspiration for all the quirky projects I like to do,” she said.

For a full schedule of the festival’s events, go to 5pointfilm.org.

stewart@aspentimes.com


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