Carbondale trustee Yllanes takes executive director role at 5Point Film

New 5Point Film Executive Director Luis Yllanes.
Summers Moore/Courtesy photo

The stars aligned for Luis Yllanes, the incoming executive director of 5Point Film, to stay in Carbondale.

A member of the town’s Board of Trustees, Yllanes had been looking for a way to move on from his role at the Aspen Art Museum and stay local. He’s long admired 5Point, he said, as a fan from its flagship festival in 2014 and as a juror for the nonprofit’s scholarship program, 5Point Dream Project. The timing simply lined up for him to turn the fandom into an active contribution.

“It’s not often that we’re presented with opportunities that we realize just meet the criteria of what we want the next step to be,” Yllanes said. “I was really moved by just having the festival in Carbondale. It was amazing in terms of the crowd that it brought together.”

Seven years later, Yllanes still fondly remembers the movies shown in that festival, the crowd interaction and the impact. His task now is to replicate that fascination in new generations.

Yllanes first came to Colorado in 2007, moving to the Roaring Fork Valley in 2009 to start at the Aspen Art Museum. The Miami native planted his roots in Carbondale and was selected to fill a vacant seat on the Board of Trustees in 2017.

He believes that taking the helm of a local nonprofit will allow him to serve the public in ways prohibited by the red tape of sitting in a public office.

“Most of the nonprofits that serve our communities fill in needs that local governments don’t have the ability to, especially with a town the size of Carbondale, with our budget,” Yllanes said.

Yllanes said one of his biggest priorities for the organization is to reach a broader, more diverse public, citing his Latino heritage. He was impressed with the pivot 5Point made to remote viewing during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and thinks some of the same strategies employed in that situation can be used going forward.

He also wants to expand youth outreach efforts like the 5Point Dream Project, which awards scholarships to five students annually to pursue a community-impact project. Previous awards have gone to building a skate park on a Navajo reservation and providing bikes to the homeless.

Yllanes said some of his priorities come from his outsider view of the valley.

“I realized that if you grew up here, you want to have access to things that other people have growing up,” Yllanes said. “It’s important because you don’t want to live here and realize. ‘I never got a chance to get on the mountain or on the river,’ or different things that really give you a balance.”

Yllanes officially takes the reins on Dec. 22. Currently, 5Point is in the middle of its end-of-year fundraiser campaign, “Support the Stories,” which allows access to three films for any donation amount.

Unique to this year, Yllanes will then begin working on the flagship festival, which was postponed from October to April as COVID-19 cases began trending upward again in late August.

He hopes to be able to look back in 2027 — the 20th anniversary of the festival — and reflect on the growth to destination status, akin to Sundance or Cannes.

“I want to every year see it grow in way that people feel they have to go to because they know that energy and those connections that we make when we come to a festival,” Yllanes said. “People are so eager to connect with each other through a shared love of adventure.”

Reporter Rich Allen can be reached at 970-384-9131 or

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