Local guys represent at Carbondale’s 5Point Film Fest | AspenTimes.com

Local guys represent at Carbondale’s 5Point Film Fest

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Courtesy Peter McBridePeter McBride's "Colorado River: Snow to Sea" was featured at 5Point Film Festival in Carbondale.

CARBONDALE – 5Point Film Festival founder Julie Kennedy constantly says the event needs to be about more than “adventure porn” – macho exploits on bicycles, skis, kayaks, etc.

She passed with flying colors this year, thanks in part to assists by a couple of local guys. Peter McBride’s short film and longer slide show educated a crowd of more than 500 people Sunday afternoon about the plight of the Colorado River, the Nile of the American West.

McBride’s show, “Colorado River: Snow to Sea,” uses his stunning still photography to capture what a national treasure the Colorado is as it spills out of Rocky Mountain National Park, twists and turns through the canyonlands of Utah and grinds into the Grand Canyon.

That’s the pleasure part of his presentation. There’s also pain – showing how the mighty river was overappropriated when the Colorado Compact was hammered out decades ago, allocating water among different states and Mexico. The flow amounts used for the agreement were high, so the Colorado River is depended on for more than it can deliver.

McBride’s most effective images show cracked crust on land where a broad delta was once located above the Sea of Cortez. Another image of a colleague attempting to float on a small raft through a scum-choked stretch of the so-called river near the Mexico border provides stunning contrast to the beauty of the Colorado through its namesake state.

McBride’s presentation makes you wonder if anything short of disaster will make western states use its lifeline more wisely.

Also on Sunday, Carbondale filmmaker and photographer Tyler Stableford packed an emotional punch into a 10-minute film called, “The Fall Line.” He told the story of Army Ranger Heath Calhoun, who lost both legs at the knees while serving in Iraq.

The film doesn’t dwell on Calhoun’s challenges, but it leaves you deflated when he describes the first time his wife left him alone in their house with their young son, and he found he couldn’t get the refrigerator door open from his wheelchair. Calhoun said the moment he couldn’t retrieve food or drink for his child was the moment he realized what it meant to be disabled.

The film doesn’t let viewers spend a lot of time with the wounded warrior, but we learn that Calhoun rediscovers skiing during a trip for disabled veterans to Aspen-Snowmass. He instantly falls back in love with the sport he knew as a youngster. Calhoun was determined to master skiing as a monoskier racer. His talent shines through as Stableford’s crew shadows him on slopes of Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Mountain. Calhoun skis all terrain, better than most folks.

Calhoun’s skills and determination led him to the 2010 Paralympics, where he was flag bearer for the U.S. team and placed in the top 10 in two disciplines against more seasoned competitors.

The film accomplished what storytelling in any medium strives for – leaving the audience yearning for more. It also made me ask myself when I’m going to volunteer to help Challenge Aspen, the organization that gets disabled individuals on the slopes.

“The Fall Line” took an award for Most Inspiring Story at 5Points Sunday afternoon. While Stableford accepted the award, he asked the crowd to remember there are thousands of wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering anonymously.

Other award winners at 5Points were “Scattered Flurries” for Best Cinematography; “Second Nature” for Best Adventure Sport; “Patagonia Promise” for Best of Festival; and “180 Degrees South”, which took the Jury’s Special Prize.