5Point Film hosts drive-in and virtual screening

After more than a year without in-person events, 5Point hosts hybrid drive-in and on-demand program


What: 5Point Film Earth Day Pop-Up Show

Where: Roaring Fork High School, Carbondale

When: Friday, April 23, 8 p.m.

How much: $45/car


More info: The program features six films and runs two hours.

* * *

What: 5Point Film Virtual Screening

When: Saturday, April 24 through Sunday, May 2

Where: Eventive through

How much: $20

More info: The virtual show includes the same films as the in-person pop-up.

After more than a year without an in-person event, 5Point Film is hosting a pair of drive-in screenings as part of a hybrid celebration of thoughtful adventure.

The events – a “pop-up show” at Roaring Fork High School showcasing new short films in the 5Point style with a live host and filmmakers and special guests, followed by a week-long on-demand virtual screening of the same lineup – lands on the festival’s traditional late April dates, while a full 5Point Film Festival is re-scheduled for October in Carbondale.

5Point, over the past 13 years, has carved out a reputation for high-integrity, high-quality films and an inimitable in-the-room vibe at its shows. The five-day flagship festival is often described as a “gathering of the tribes,” emphasizing its in-person experiences with adventurers, filmmakers and creative people.

Without its signature in-person events, 5Point has approximated some of the festival spirit in its online and on-demand programs including the standard-setting “5Point Unlocked” program a year ago, which was the cultural high point of Colorado’s stay-home period.

This week’s socially distanced drive-ins Thursday and Friday night, followed by the on-demand show, appear to mark the beginning of the end of 5Point’s event-less stretch and maybe for the pandemic’s event disruptions in Carbondale.

“Traditionally, 5Point Film’s annual festival has been the bridge between winter and spring for Carbondale, so it feels good to be that seasonal connector once again,” 5Point executive director Regna Jones said when the drive-in was announced, “especially bringing our community together in this modified event as we collectively come out of the darkness that has been the COVID pandemic.”

The festival features six total films and a conversation with filmmaker and activist Taylor Rees, whose new film “From Kurils With Love” is part of the screening.

The film followed a group of explorers around the remote Kurils Islands between Russia and Japan, and Rees documents the threat this volcanic archipelago and ecosystem faces from climate change. It’s serious but not grim, made with a welcome playfulness and driven by a childlike sense of discovery as Rees, co-director Renan Oztuk and their team follow Russian marine biologist Vladimir Burkanov around the islands he’s devoted his career to studying.

Burkanov, who joined the expedition at the last minute and ended up being the central human figure in the movie, is a charismatic and compelling guide, whether he is howling with Kurils sea lions or discussing their (not good) smell or singing Russian sea shanties.

The islands have been rapidly losing their biodiversity.

“Something is going on,” Burkanov says in the film, “but we still don’t get enough data to understand how it changed, why it changed.”

He wants the world to learn about Kurils in the hopes that the world will act to protect it.

“My concern is that if people don’t see it they won’t care,” he says in the film.

The 5Point program also includes “Understory: A Journey into the Tongass National Forest,” documenting the beauty of 350 miles of the coastal rainforest before it was opened for clearcut logging.

A third water-bound film, “Flotsam,” profiles an eccentric Miami fisherman who hooks mahi and sailfish from a sea kayak. In its intimate 10 minutes, the film follows David Gauzens as he heads to the beach before sunrise — passing South Beach partiers carrying high heels or driving sports cars at the end of a club night — and onto the water, where he paddles and pedals into the sunrise and goes miles from shore for big fish.

“I do it because it’s like an addiction,” he says in the film. “If I haven’t gone in a while I miss it. … Pulling a fish out, it’s like Christmas morning.”

Gauzens is part of a subculture of anglers on human-powered craft that grew across Florida during the devastation of the Great Recession when many could not afford fuel. It started earlier for him, when as a kid he sold mangoes on the highway to buy a $60 sea kayak and start fishing.

We see him flee dangerous and unpredictable thunderstorms on the water and fight to land a sailfish from his small kayak and, after the film’s 10-minute run, we start to grasp the simple joy of sea kayak fishing, which Gausens calls “going grocery shopping in the ocean.”

“We don’t need that mush to enjoy ourselves,” he says, “and this has proven it to me.”


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