5Point honors adventurer Erik Weihenmayer at Carbondale festival | PostIndependent.com

5Point honors adventurer Erik Weihenmayer at Carbondale festival

Outdoor film festival 5Point honored blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer in Carbondale Sunday with the festival’s inaugural 5Point Honors award for dedication to the organization’s ideals.

Weihenmayer received the award after a screening of the feature length film “The Weight of Water” — documenting Weihenmayer’s feat of kayaking the entire Grand Canyon — on the fourth and final day of the festival.

“This [award] is for dedication to living to all of our five points, and teaching others to live extraordinary lives,” event host Paddy O’Connell said Sunday. The eponymous five principles of the organization are respect, commitment, humility, purpose and balance.

During a discussion after the screening, Weihenmayer said he overcame the final, toughest rapids in part because of the strength of the people around him.

“When you’re such a great team, that team gives you strength, and it makes you want to be better and go beyond yourself,” said Weihenmayer, whose extensive mountain climbing resume includes being the first blind person to summit Mt. Everest.

“The Weight of Water” also won the best of festival award.

“We are thrilled to honor Erik’s legacy and commitment to adventure with the first ever 5Point Honors award,” said Regna Jones, executive director of 5Point Film. “His mission to overcome challenges and also support others through his non-profit work embodies everything that 5Point is about, and it is such an honor to have Erik join us at this year’s festival feature film screening.”

“Erik has built a world class, adventuring life for himself despite having to overcome his visual impairment,” said Jeff Hauser, executive director of Challenge Aspen and personal friend of Weihenmayer, who attended the special tribute. 

“He is continuing to find great challenges to climb and unique ways to give back to others with disabilities. It is fun to have been a very small part of these adventures and to call Erik a friend,” Hauser said.

Directed by Michael Brown, “The Weight of Water” follows Weihenmayer, his kayaking guide and crew, and a second blind kayaker, Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell, as they traversed the treacherous rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 2014.

The film also won the Banff Film Festival Grand prize in 2018, as well as other awards.

Weihenmayer recounted the trip in his book “No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon.”

He has also written the best-selling memoir “Touch the Top of the World” which is also a feature film, and “The Adversity Advantage,” about turning “everyday struggles into everyday greatness.”



Spirit of Adventure: 8000+ (Pakistan, 21 min) Director: Antoine Girard, Christian Schmidt

Pure Joy: LIFE OF PIE (United States, 11 min) World Premiere. Director: Ben Knight, Travis Rummel. Producer: Travis Rummel

Creative Excellence: (PEOPLE) OF WATER, (United States, 23 min), World Premiere. Director: Forest Woodward. Producer: Dan Riordan

Best Cinematography: CHASING MONSTERS (United States, 5 min) Director: Krystle Wright, Toby Pike. Producer: Canon Australia

Most Inspirational: MOUNTAIN IN THE HALLWAY (United States, 25 min) World Premiere. Director: Todd Jones. Producer: Steve Jones, Drew Holt, Stephen Dyer, Teton Gravity Research

People’s Choice: LIFE OF PIE (United States, 11 min) World Premiere. Director: Ben Knight, Travis Rummel. Producer: Travis Rummel

The Hayden Kennedy Award: THE MYSTERY OF NOW (United States, 17 min) Director: Audrey Buchanan. Producer: Kaylee Cole, Douglas Miles, Dream Hampton, Archana Chattha, Vijay Chattha

Best of Festival: THE WEIGHT OF WATER (United States, 1 Hour 18 min), Director and Producer: Michael Brown

5Point Honors: Erik Weihenmayer

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