5Point Film Festival: ‘Changemakers’ on sea, land, ski, horse and rock around the globe
The Aspen Times
The 5Point Adventure Film Festival has always strived to give audiences more than the usual on-screen big mountain thrills.
Now in its 12th year, the titular five points of the festival are “purpose,” “respect,” “commitment,” “humility” and “balance,” grounding its programs in spiritual principles that have made it a home for stories that go deeper than the steep lines of ski porn (though there’s plenty of skiing on the docket) and aim to reach the heart rather than stroke the ego of another peak-bagging climber (though there’s plenty of climbing on the program, too).
More than any other program on 5Point’s jam-packed four-day schedule at its flagship Carbondale festival, the curated 10-movie lineup on Sunday’s “Changemakers” embodies the 5Point mission.
The annual program, in recent years, has included memorable 5Point entries like “Big Air Max,” about the Snowmass-based adaptive skier Max Grange and “Ten Years Out” about local artist Summers Moore’s artistic journey through grief.
This year’s selected change-maker titles include the world premiere of director Juan Grobler’s “Cowgirl,” about a local Carbondale girl aiming to break into the male-dominated realm of ranching and riding.
What: 5Point Adventure Film Festival
Where: Carbondale Rec Center and environs
When: Through April 28
How much: $15-$25/daytime programs; $35/evening programs
What: ‘Changemakers’ at 5Point
Where: Carbondale Rec Center
When: Sunday, April 28, noon
How much: $25
More info: The two hour and 30 minute program includes ‘The Woman Who Follows the Wind,’ ‘Osama & Ayman,’ ‘In Due Time,’ ‘Cowgirl,’ ‘The Quiet Force,’ ‘Dead Last,’ ‘Just a Climber (For Bears Ears),’ ‘Sacred Strides,’ ‘My Dear Kyrgyzstan,’ and ‘Akuna.’
In “The Woman Who Follows the Wind,” a 6-minute profile of 66-year-old kite-surfer, the change is personal. The short film directed by Audrey Aden-Buie tells the story of Mikkaya Heart who, in her early 50s, saw a kitesurfer on the ocean and decided to buy a kite and give the sport a shot. This whim transformed her life, leading to a life of travel by wind and on water and healing from trauma.
A similar inner and outer journey is on-screen in director Andy Maser’s “In Due Time,” about adventurers Mike Chambers and Jason Antin making a grueling winter trek across 105 miles of the Arctic Circle in four days. As they set out for the Arctic, Chambers leaves at home a wife pregnant with their first child and Antin leaves his toddler behind. The film tackles the balancing act of outdoor passion and family responsibility.
“For so long I defined myself as an adventurer, as a climber, as a runner, and then I met my wife and I defined myself as an adventurer and a husband,” Chambers says in the film. “And now we’re adding a kid to that and there are so many things vying for our time. If you know all of those things complete you as a person, then you have to make it work, you can’t let one of those things go away.”
“Akuna,” a 6-minute doc by Jess Colquhoun, is the story of a young Iraq war veteran with physical and emotional injuries from his service, hikes the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail on his road to recovery.
The 8-minute “Osama & Ayman” offers a decidedly 5Point perspective on being a Muslim in Donald Trump’s America. It follows brothers Osama and Ayman Abdeldayem as they skate around Washington, D.C. and confront American Islamophobia.
The president’s divisive environmental policy is the subject of Greg Cairns’ 4-minute short “Just a Climber (For Bears Ears),” following the outdoorsman-activist-poet Luke Mehall fighting to protect Bears Ears National Monument from Trump.
And 5Point regular Forest Woodward returns with co-directors Anna Callaghan and Marie Sullivan with the potent 12-minute “Sacred Strides,” also about threats to public lands at Bears Ears. The trio of filmmaker depict how members of area Navajo, Hopi and Ute tribes, for whom Bears Ears is sacred land, came together for a Healing Prayer Run across the landscape to undscore its importance.
“You get Mother Earth one time, you don’t get her a second time, third time,” Navajo Kenneth Maryboy says in the film. “Where are we going to get another one if we suffocate mom?”
Commitment and humility are on view in “Dead Last,” which profile a one-handed young woman’s unlikely journey to compete in the para-climbing world championships. While purpose is the theme of “My Dear Kyrgyzstan,” a profile of a social media savvy entrepreneur in the remote mountains of eastern Kyrgyzstan who has lured influencers and titans of industry to make it a vacation destination.
The “Changemakers” afternoon also includes an encore presentation of “The Quiet Force,” which 5Point screened in January at the Wheeler Opera House in a rapturously received and conversation-starting event. The eye-opening 35-minute documentary, by Jackson Hole-based ski filmmakers Hilary Byrne and Sophie Danison, paints a multi-faceted portrait of immigrants in American ski towns, their vital place in the tourism economy and the pall of fear cast over the community in the Trump era.
“They are the people who keep this machine running,” Ingrid Braun, the sheriff in Mammoth, California, says in the film. “It’s unseen, the quiet workforce.”
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