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5Point Festival 2019 Makes Carbondale an Adventure Film Mecca

5 top films to discover during this annual gathering of outdoors advocates.

By Cindy Hirschfeld April 17, 2019

The Weight of Water, showing Sunday, April 28, documents Erik Weihenmayer's kayak trip through the Grand Canyon.

It’s that time of year when Carbondale’s 5Point Adventure Film Festival draws hundreds of adventure and outdoors lovers to the town’s recreation center for four days of must-see on-screen stories, April 25–28, 2019. This year’s line-up of some 50 shorts and two feature-length films includes 10 world premieres, along with plenty of filmmaker guests. For a sneak peek at five films likely to be audience favorites, we checked in with 5Point programming director Meredith McKee.

The fest has a thriving social and educational scene, too, with events like the Van Life Rally, 5Point Confluence panel discussions, art installations, happy hour and late-night receptions, and much more.

Make a weekend of it—but get your tickets pronto, as the screenings routinely sell out.

Project Y

Project Y, part of Program One
Thursday, April 25, 7 p.m., tickets still available

A semi-serious look at what makes athletes push their physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional limits as they train for the Dirty Kanza, an annual 200-mile gravel bike race in Kansas.

Meredith’s take: In this science-based comedy, “subject athletes” go through spiritual and physical tests to determine why they love chasing the pain and what it helps them learn about themselves. While the film is based on a race in Kansas, if there was an Aspen version, the perfect test athletes would be John Gaston, Christy Mahon, Max Tamm, and those other familiar local names who stand on top of podiums over and over again. 

(People) of Water

(People) of Water (world premiere), part of Program Two
Friday, April 26, 7 p.m., sold out

Rob Prechtl, a member of the US Men’s Rafting team, embarks on a journey to learn the craft of outrigger paddling.

Meredith’s take: We are thrilled to have a second film featuring our favorite rafters in 5Point—the US Men’s Rafting team premiered Time Travelers at 5Point two years ago. This film brings together the Colorado rafting culture and the tradition of Hawaiian outrigger canoeing communities. Humility–one of our 5Points—is a theme as Rob tries to master outrigger canoeing, learning about himself and water culture along the way. 

Into the Canyon

Into The Canyon
Saturday, April 27, 2:30 p.m., tickets still available

Journalists Pete McBride and Kevin Fedarko endure an epic adventure while hiking 750 miles through the Grand Canyon, hoping to better understand one of America’s most revered landscapes and the environmental and development threats it currently faces.

Meredith’s take: On the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park, and during a time where sacred public lands are at risk, this film is the perfect combination of gripping adventure and a look at the complex conservation efforts needed to protect one of our most sacred places. Hiking the Grand Canyon might sound easy, but with extreme temperatures, low levels of water, and huge cliff faces, it’s definitely not. You’ll be on the edge of your seat rooting for Pete and Kevin to finish this grueling mission

The Quiet Force

The Quiet Force, part of Program Four: Changemakers
Sunday, April 28, noon, tickets still available

An exploration of the social and economic impacts of current national immigration policy on segments of the workforce in mountain resorts.

Meredith’s take: Hilary Byrne and Sophie Danison are incredibly accomplished filmmakers through their careers in action sports, but they wanted to make something that really impacted ski communities beyond that. This film is rooted in how everyone in a ski town is a part of the same community and the same economy, no matter where they are from. The aim is to ignite change and bring our community together. Through our Film Fund, we gave the filmmakers the money to add subtitles, so Spanish-speaking and English-speaking viewers can sit in the same space and learn about this issue together. 

The Weight of Water

The Weight of Water, with special guest Erik Weihenmayer
Sunday, April 28, 3 p.m., tickets still available

Famed blind adventurer Weihenmayer undertakes an absurdly improbable challenge— kayaking the Grand Canyon.

Meredith’s take: This exceptional story embodies our 5Points perfectly. The film reminds us that with determination and teamwork, anything is possible. It won best in festival at Banff [Mountain Film Festival], and we know the audience will feel our motto of "come together, return changed" after watching it. We are so excited to have Erik here in person for a Q&A after the film. He’s an incredible speaker, and it is such an honor to welcome him to Carbondale once again.  

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