On the Road

Inspiring adventure, reel by reel

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Outdoor adventure films are undeniably popular—just ask multimedia mogul Warren Miller.

But, while Miller’s behemoth of a film festival is focused solely on excursions that happen on snow-filled slopes around the world, gatherings such as the 5Point Film Festival—which takes place every April in Carbondale, Colorado—take a wider view of what “adventure” really means.

Films vary in subject matter, and this year’s offerings include everything from a climber pondering life’s big questions in his 35th year to a photographer immersing himself in landscapes, a mountain biker dealing with the long aftermath of a horrifying accident, a wingsuit world champion, a round-trip expedition from the Antarctic to the South Pole, canyoneering, a surf trip in British Columbia, high school hockey, 70-year-old cyclists, a snowboarding crash reel and much more.

When the festival’s “On the Road” crew makes a stop Thurs., Aug. 29 at Bellingham’s Depot Market Square to share the cream of the crop from April’s big event, attendees will get in on the action via a community tailgate party and the short films that span a smorgasbord of what it means to take risks and tell stories in the great outdoors.

Executive Director Sarah Wood explains that the festival started in 2008 when skier Julie Kennedy and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard hit upon the inspiration to get it going. 

“[They] missed the times when their climbing, skiing and adventuring friends would gather to show their videos and pictures from their trips,” Wood says. “They missed the gathering of the ‘tribe’ and the inspiration it gave them to live more passionate lives. So in an effort to bring that community together, provide a shared inspiring experience and inspire an audience to seek their own passions and adventures, 5Point Film was born.”

Wood points out that the festival’s five guiding principles—respect, commitment, humility, purpose and balance—are a big part of the spark they’re trying to ignite to get people outdoors and living their passions in a conscious manner.

“We hope to inspire audiences to define adventure for themselves as well,” Wood says. “It doesn’t have to be on skis, in a kayak, or on a bike. It can be anything. We believe that when a community comes together at an event like this, share in the electric experience we create and leave incredibly inspired, that community will thrive with each other, become passionate about the places and people they love and get involved to make change where it is needed.”

As part of its localized focus, the viewings of the films will be preceded by the aforementioned community tailgate party, which is intended to provide an open, social arena to celebrate local recreational opportunities.

A variety of recreation-focused business, publications and nonprofits—including Backcountry Essentials, the Hub, the American Alpine Club’s Cascade section, Mt. Baker Mountain Guides, EverybodyBike, the Sierra Club, and others—will be on hand, and there’ll be interactive games, contests and activities, as well as a plethora of information regarding how to get involved in recreational pursuits. And, since it’s a party, there’ll also be food and drink from area purveyors on hand both before and during the time the films are shown.

“It is important to us that the community play a role in these events,” Wood says. “We want to celebrate local communities as much as possible. When we decided to work with the American Alpine Club to produce these events, it was appreciated that the money raised for their mission would stay in those communities and that this event would directly benefit the community after we leave.”

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