Nature’s Calling

5Point Film Festival Finds Its Perfect Match in Meaghan Lynch

With a new executive director at the helm, one of the country’s premier outdoor film fests is kicking 2017 into high gear.

By Katie Shapiro January 17, 2017 Published in the Midwinter/Spring 2017 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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5Point On the Road rolls into Aspen on Saturday, January 21 at the Wheeler Opera House. 

When your grandfather helmed Breckenridge ski area in the 1970s and you trade in New York corporate life for a public relations post with the Aspen Skiing Company, as Meaghan Lynch did five years ago, it could be considered following the family path. When you also have a lifelong love of cinema and a passion for the mountains, then unexpectedly get the chance to head up an outdoor film festival, it’s pure kismet.

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Image: Karl Wolfgang

As the new executive director of Carbondale-based 5Point Adventure Film Festival, Lynch has found her dream job, one that unites her diverse career path with her affinity for the screen. She took over in November, just days after returning from a volunteer trip trekking through Nepal’s Annapurna region, but Lynch already had big plans for the festival as it prepares for its tenth anniversary this April.

“I’m certainly holding myself to the high standard and mission of this organization,” she says. “Through film, we aim to inspire adventure of all kinds and to engage passion with a conscience.”

That mission “ignited this lingering inspiration that just stuck,” adds Lynch, recalling how attending her first 5Point festival in 2008 prompted her to sign up as a volunteer. Now in a position to inspire others, she aims to grow awareness of the fest’s nonprofit status for initiatives like the Dream Project (a scholarship program for area high school students to pursue meaningful ventures), garner even more support from Carbondale businesses, and develop special programming around climate change, the theme of this year’s festival.

More than just a community-wide celebration of outdoor adventure and exploration (the festival annually sells out its four days of screenings at the Carbondale Recreation Center), 5Point has always tried to unite audiences and activism. Lynch plans on making that goal even more visible. “This opportunity came at a time, especially with the current political environment,” she notes, “where after a film with an impactful message or heavy content, we want to be able to immediately say, ‘Here’s what you can do now to make a difference.’”

Other ideas in the works include a partnership with climate-awareness nonprofit Protect Our Winters, art shows at the Launchpad in Carbondale, and a series of screenings and events leading up to this spring’s festival, April 20–23. 5Point also continues its road show programming with festivals in Bellingham, Washington, and Asheville, North Carolina. It’s an ambitious start for Lynch, but one she seems destined to live up to.

Catch Lynch's official debut at 5Point On the Road Aspen on Saturday, January 21 at the Wheeler Opera House, which kicks off a year-long 10th anniversary celebration. The annual winter fundraiser will feature an inspiring lineup of short documentary adventure films and special guests including Aspenite Jesse Hoffman, adventure skier Brody Leven, and Silverton mountain guide John Shocklee. 

Opening reception (6 p.m.), program (7 p.m.), tickets ($25):

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