5Point scholarship fund helps Roaring Fork Valley students achieve their dreams | PostIndependent.com

5Point scholarship fund helps Roaring Fork Valley students achieve their dreams

Dreams can come true. That's been the experience of Roaring Fork Valley students for the past nine years, thanks to 5Point Adventure Film Festival's Dream Project.

The scholarship program awards $1,500 each to students who propose projects that embody the festival's guiding principles: respect, commitment, humility, purpose and balance. The scholarship is presented by Timbers Resorts.

"We were looking for kids that put an effort into their submission that took into consideration not only the products they wanted, but also the financial breakout of what it would cost," said Dream Project juror Stephanie Bergner.

Applicants who had already taken steps toward making their dreams a reality stood out. The scholarship money can help students reach their goals by providing additional resources.

Bergner pointed to recipient Chloe Gonzales as an example. Gonzales aims to make a film about Abasolo Rodeo in Mexico.

The jury reviewed a film Gonzales had shot using her iPhone, and it stuck with Bergner.

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"It was so good," she said. "The way that she had all these different angles and different music in the background, and just the way she was characterizing the shots in her iPhone film — I just thought she was very talented and I could tell she was talented and she was going to do something with her abilities in videography."

The scholarship will help Gonzales, a sophomore at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, purchase equipment to improve her filmmaking ability.

Another CRMS student, senior Sunni Raleigh, will turn to documentary filmmaking to tell the stories of interracial adoptions. Raleigh was adopted from Cambodia, and her sister, godsister and best friend were also adopted.

Raleigh's passion is for telling these tales; she has dabbled in filmmaking in the past, but doesn't call herself a filmmaker. She'll use the scholarship to learn this art, because she felt it was the best medium to tell these stories.

"Every adopted kid … has a unique story to their adoption and how they approach their adoption," Raleigh said. She is comfortable with her adoption, but others have different experiences. Her project will examine that closely.

Breaking financial barriers

Bergner also said her work as a local attorney has shown her the barriers to success some face.

"Some of the kids do not have the resources to do the things that they dream about," she said. "I believe that the Dream Project gives them the resources that they might not otherwise have access to."

Moises Murillo intends to use his scholarship to create such opportunities for younger kids. Murillo took his first backpacking trip as a middle school student. He was facing a lot of difficulties, but a trip to Moab took his mind off his troubles.

"It was like I was living in a new world," he said.

His second trip, which included snowshoeing to a hut, was difficult but still rewarding. Although he was starting to go down the wrong path, he said the outdoors gave him something positive to channel his energy toward. When he overcame challenges in the wilderness, Murillo felt he could overcome difficulties in his everyday life.

Murillo is looking for additional sponsors to help create opportunities for elementary and middle school students to enjoy outdoors trips. He intends for high school students to attend as mentors.

The scholarship will provide a stepping stone for Roaring Fork High School junior William Luckett, who will attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts camp. Luckett has performed with a number of theater companies and intends to pursue a career in performing arts. When he was accepted to the summer intensive, he decided to apply for the Dream Project to help defray the cost.

Acting has built Luckett's confidence, and he intends to enroll at NYU after high school graduation.

"It's also affected me in many ways by teaching me to be patient, teaching me to be a better person overall," he said.

Bergner also emphasized the value of having a neutral party — someone who isn't biased toward you — validate your work.

"I think having that third party say that to you as a kid is really inspiring," she said.

5Point Adventure Film Festival concludes today.

Dream Project Recipients

Each year the 5Point Dream Project awards scholarships that enables high-school students to pursue their dreams. These are this year’s recipients.

Sunni Raleigh: The Colorado Rocky Mountain School senior will create a documentary about interracial adoption.

Martin Salcedo: Salcedo will restore an old car and display it at Roaring Fork High School, where he is a junior. Juror Stephanie Bergner said Salcedo had secured auto shop space before submitting his application, and he intends to start an auto mechanics club at his school.

Chloe Gonzales: CRMS sophomore Gonzales will make a film about the people of Abasolo Rodeo in central Mexico.

William Luckett: Luckett will spend part of the summer before his senior year at RFHS at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts summer camp.

Bear Matthews: Basalt High School junior Matthews will take portraits throughout the valley and create a short film about the area’s diversity of opinions.

William Orben : Orben, a senior at Basalt, will set up a recording studio.

Moises Murillo: Murillo will share his passion for the outdoors with others who haven’t had the opportunity to experience it. He’s a sophomore at Basalt.