5Point Film Festival returns to Carbondale with expanded community events
The Aspen Times
Adrenaline junkies, it’s time to get stoked for the 16th annual 5Point Film Festival returning to Carbondale Wednesday, April 19, through Sunday, April 23.
“From a programming perspective, the bar is so high, and adventure filmmakers are producing really high-quality projects,” said head of programming Charlie Turnbull. “Ever since ‘Free Solo’ won the Oscar, the genre has become very in vogue. It’s also spurred a lot of our filmmakers to tell more human-interest stories that have a backdrop of adventure and the outdoors.”
The festival will present 40 films, including 15 world premieres and 10 Colorado premieres.
Making its regional debut is the latest film from Oscar-winning filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, “Wild Life,” which follows conservationist Kris Tompkins on a decades-spanning love story.
After meeting her husband, outdoorsman, and entrepreneur Doug Tomkins, she and he left behind successful careers in the brands they helped pioneer — Patagonia, The North Face, and Esprit — to create national parks throughout Chile and Argentina via their non-profit Tompkins Conservation. The film follows the highs and lows of those efforts.
“Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi’s new feature film about Kris Tompkins is great. It’s just a really beautiful love story slash conservation story that will blow audiences away,” said Turnbull.
Another film making its Colorado premiere is pertinent to what’s happening with the re-introduction of wolves into Colorado: “Range Rider.”
The film introduces us to Daniel Curry, a range rider whose job is to patrol wild areas on horseback, creating a buffer between wolves and cattle herds that graze on public lands. The film focuses on Washington State and the complicated issues that arise in rural ranching areas with re-introduction and asks if co-existence between ranchers and wolves is possible. The film is directed by Colin Arisman, with cinematography by Carbondale local Oliver Sutro.
“I’m really excited about the Colorado premiere of ‘Range Rider.’ ACES is supporting that screening, and I know it’s super topical here at the moment,” said Turnbull.
With about 400 submissions from filmmakers from the United States, Canada, and Europe, Turnbull said, it was tough to narrow it down to only 40 films. He said the key to programming the festival is to keep the audience “on their toes” with a mix of hardcore adventure, personal storytelling, and some films that are just light and funny.
Audiences will also find a mix of outdoor sports from cycling, climbing, and skiing to paddling, running, and more.
5Point has added several free events throughout the five days, including a special screening of “Resistance Climbing,” a film about a group of climbers in conflict-torn Palestine.
According to Turnbull, beyond the film programming, 5Point is expanding its footprint throughout the week with new cultural offerings for attendees and the community.
For the first time, it will offer a curated music lineup that complements the nightly film programs, featuring Denver rock band iZCALLi, Brothers of Brass, and a one-night-only reunion performance of local yacht rock band The Davenports. All the musical performances are free.
The festival also will present live comedy night as part of the festival at the Black Nugget, featuring comedians Salma Zaky, Gabby Gutierrez-Reed, and Sammy Anzer, hosted by Denver comedian Eeland Stribling.
Another new addition, in partnership with Independence Run and Hike and ValleyOrtho, is the first 5K on Saturday, April 22, from 8-10 a.m. The race starts and ends at Independence Run and Hike, $25 per entry, free for VIP pass holders. Race starts at 8:30 a.m.
“We wanted to be a bit ambitious and to try and grow it into something that was more than just films, particularly with those free events,” Turnbull said. “We see it as a good way to cultivate community around this event and to build it into a festival where there really is something for everyone. Obviously, the films will always be our core kind of draw and programming component, but it’s really cool to have music and comedy and especially the 5k Saturday kind of opportunity for the community to come and enjoy something for free mingle with the filmmakers.”
For him, programming the festival and being part of the community is a dream come true. An Australian, he said he hadn’t heard of 5Points until 2018, when he came to the festival supporting his film “Bikes of Wrath,” which follows five Aussie friends as they attempt to cycle from Oklahoma to California in honor of John Steinbeck’s classic novel “The Grapes of Wrath,” following the same route as American farmers during the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s.
He was so impressed by the experience and the community of Carbondale that when the opportunity came up in 2020 to program the festival, he jumped at the chance.
“It’s such a special and unique festival because everything and everyone is in one place,” he said. “There’s no competing screenings in different locations, which a lot of film festivals have. There are 800 people that come together, and the energy inside the rec center is really unique and hard to beat. It’s an intoxicating experience that (founder) Julie Kennedy created long before we did, but we hope we’ve still got it.”
For more information, passes and tickets, visit 5pointfilm.org/ or aspenshowtix.com.
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