What to watch for at 5Point Adventure Film Festival

Surprise is among the main ingredients to the 5Point adventure movie experience, whether it’s the story in a short film that opens your eyes to a new corner of the word or a new perspective or a special guest who arrives on stage. the credits start rolling. You don’t want to sit at the Carbondale Rec Center knowing exactly what’s onscreen or not.

But here’s a taste of some of the best films to come to the festival, which returns to an in-person house from Thursday to Sunday and as always offers a diverse and surprising collection of moving adventure stories.

In keeping with the fragile tenor of our pandemic moment, many films address mental illness and several feature world-class athletes and adventurers opening up about their own struggles.

“If I Tell Them” (Courtesy 5Point Film)


Film program Friday evening, 7 p.m.

Among the special guests director Oliver Sutro

Roaring Fork Valley photographer and filmmaker Oliver Sutro paints a vivid emotional and visual portrait of fishing guide James Sampsel as he grapples with his bipolar disorder and its effects on his life on the water, as well as his role as a husband and dad. Sutro shoots the 12-minute film entirely on the water and in the woods, including lavish scenes of Sutro painting canvases in the rain, lending it an otherworldly spirit. In the opening moments, Sampsel wonders what would happen if his fishing clients knew about his mental illness or his past manic and depressive episodes: “If I tell them, they always come fish with me”

“Learning to Drown” (courtesy 5Point Film)


Film program Friday evening, 7 p.m.

A searing and inspiring portrait of despair and, eventually, hope, this intimate 40-minute documentary tells the story of professional snowboarder Jess Kimura. The Canadian rider talks about her fall from the pinnacle of her sport, her brain injury, her diagnosis of schizophrenia, her deep struggles after the death of her partner and finding a way forward. She finds him in the ocean, overcoming a lifelong fear of water through surfing.

“It’s like pushing your mind to push your body to do something crazy that expresses everything I have inside of me,” she says of her extreme sports activities. “It’s just my nature. I tried to calm him down, but I’m so excited.

This is the latest film from 5Point favorite Ben Knight and Felt Soul Media, whose previous films include “The Last Honeyhunter” and “Life of Pie.”

“This Beth” (Courtesy 5Point Film)


Saturday evening cinema program, 7 p.m.

Beth Rodden is freedom personified. Or so it seemed she became one of the most famous and accomplished climbers in the world – at first and free climbs on El Capitan climbs.

“People saw the magazine covers and the videos, but they didn’t know what was underneath,” Rodden, now 40, says in the film.

Underneath are crippling body image issues and negative self-talk and a dark time after her divorce from mountaineer Tommy Caldwell.

Directed by Jen Randall and backed by evocative archival footage, the film made with support from the 5Point Film Fund and makes its world premiere at the festival.

“Before I Die” (Courtesy 5Point Film)


Changemakers program, Sunday, 11 a.m.

Special guests include director/producer Rush Sturges and subject Tristan Bussell

After his father dies of early-onset genetic Alzheimer’s disease, a rare form of the disease, his son Tristan takes a DNA test to find out if he contracts it and finds he has a 100% chance. At 36, he embraces life to the fullest. His goal: to get good enough at whitewater kayaking to execute a waterfall. This 10-minute tearjerker, produced with the support of the 5Point Film Fund, follows Tristan on his mission.

“From My Window” (Courtesy 5Point Film)


Changemakers program, Sunday, 11 a.m.

Special guests include subject Melissa Simpson

“From my window, I can see the highest peaks in Colorado,” says Melissa Simpson of Leadville in the opening moments of this 20-minute epic. “I’ve always wanted to tackle these mountains.

Born with cerebral palsy and using a wheelchair, Simpson hasn’t peaked and also needs help getting around his hometown. That begins to change after she meets Erik Weihenmayer – the blind adventurer who summited Everest – who serves as her mentor, climbing partner and inspiration as Simpson begins to make her dreams come true.

“Ripped” (Courtesy 5Point Film)


Sunday, April 24, 3 p.m.

Special guests include Conrad and Jennifer Lowe-Anker

Max Lowe was 10 when his father, superstar mountaineer Alex Lowe, died in an avalanche during an expedition to Tibet in October 1999. Alex’s best friend and climbing partner, Conrad Anker, married the widow of Alex and raise Max and his two brothers. Now a filmmaker, Max has used his camera as a therapeutic tool for himself and the family, trying to come to terms with the trauma of their loss in intimate interviews and digging through Alex’s archives at their Bozeman home. The result is “Torn,” a revealing and radically intimate documentary.

It’s part of a three-movie lineup that also includes “An Accidental Life” (Friday, 10:30 a.m.) and “The River Runner” (Saturday, 3 p.m.).


Friday, April 22, 3:30 p.m.

The adventurer / successful philosopher Jedidiah Jenkins, author of the indispensable “Like Streams to the Ocean”, is a natural candidate for 5Point. It will record an episode of his popular podcast in the festival with Jenkins conversation with filmmaker Taylor Rees ( “From Kurils with Love”). Next, Jenkins will give a lecture and do an off-mic Q&A with the 5Point audience.


Saturday April 23, 11 a.m.

Forget the cartoons Saturday morning or watching the time bazillionth “Encanto” program focused on 5Point family is a kid-friendly dependably experience feel good that – in many years – presented some of the best films at the festival. The short skateboard Girls 2017 “Gnarly in Pink,” for example, was a favorite of 5Point which was then distributed by National Geographic.

This year is a 90-minute bilingual program hosted by Voce Unidas de las Montañas co-founder Jasmin Ramirez and conservationist Beatriz Soto, followed by an ice cream social.

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