The 7th annual 5Point Film Festival concluded Sunday evening to the roaring applause of an exuberant audience. After the long week of inspiring films those hardy enough to stick it out to the end were rewarded to an exciting finish with awards going to the most outstanding entries. Prizes went to filmmakers in 6 categories to affirm their hard work and dedication to the noble task of creating remarkable stories that joyfully encourage the audience not to just watch but participate.
The Spirit of Adventure award recognizes those who go well outside their comfort zone to achieve an audacious goal seemingly out of reach. Stretching to ascend to the top of the highest free solo rock climb in history the film Alex Honnold El Sendero Luminoso from Renan Ozturk of Camp 4 Collective received a well deserved nod as runner-up in the category. The trophy went to Nobody’s River, a wonderful story that follows the arduous journey of four women who kayaked their way across Mongolia and Russia on one of the last free-flowing rivers in the world. The Joy Trip Project is a proud backer of this film on Indiegogo.com.
Visual imagery is the natural hallmark of any great film festival. Also from Camp 4 Collective, The Explorer – directed by Anson Fogel and featuring pioneering astronaut Buzz Aldrin-was recognized as runner-up in consideration for best in Cinematography. But top marks went to the captivating Vimeo staff pick The Revenge of the Beasts by Sebastian Linda. This beautifully shot film details in sharp relief the grace and passion that can be achieved in skateboarding.
True to the primary theme of 5Point’s 7-year run there were several films in contention for Most Inspiring. Two audience favorites were particularly compelling as both stars made an appearance that the festival. Runner-up Slomo introduced the audience to Dr. John Kitchin, a prominent psychiatrist who abandoned his medical career to pursue instead his insatiable desire to skate the boardwalk of Pacific Beach in San Diego, California on rollerblades. But the biggest cheers went up for the winner 14.c a short film directed by George Knowles and supported by the 5Point Film Fund. This heart-tugging story follows a few days in the life of Kai Lightner, a young man who at the age of 14 in a champion sport climber with skill and ability better than most adults. With the support of his mother Connie, who was also in Carbondale for this world premiere, Kai is on track to fulfill his goal of becoming one of the best competition climbers on the planet.
The prizes for Creative Excellence went to two amazing feature films cut down to size. Runner-up Into the Mind: Surf/Snowboard Segment from Sherpa Cinemas depicts the relationship between adventure athletes who play with incredible zeal through water in both its liquid and solid states. Ironically in an exact opposite expression of winters sports the winner, Valhalla: Forest Ski Segment, by Nick Waggoner and Zac Ramras of Sweetgrass Productions features a thrilling sequence of stunts shot in the evergreen woods of Mount Baker without the benefit of a single flake of snow!
In a special category meant to recognize the merits of excellent films that defy classification Dream, by director Skip Armstrong received a prize for Pure Joy. In an expression of sheer fantasy the film is a short roller coaster ride through the mind of professional kayaker Ben Marr. Complete with raging whitewater, pyrotechnics, laser blasts and a dancing Sasquatch it was adventure run wild.
The highlight of 5Point was the Colorado premiere of the much-anticipated film DamNation. Taking the prize for Best of the Festival this monumental feature explores the tragic history of dam building in the United State and the emerging new movement to take these massive obstructions out of commission. In a celebration of non-violent resistance to the commercial exploitation of America’s rivers filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel aim to raise awareness for the importance of reestablishing the historic natural flow of water for both the preservation of endangered species and the security of fragile ecosystems upon which humanity depends.
Exquisitely curated by executive director Sarah Wood and her production staff the 2014 5Point Film Festival is an exceptional collection of films that dramatically illustrates the human spirit. Though each film stands alone as an excellent testament to the capacity of intrepid men and women to venture past a conventional existence plagued with boredom and mediocrity, together as a meticulously assembled whole these masterpieces offer up a shinning example of the many ecstatic experiences that are possible when we reach beyond the boundaries of our imagination. And as each film continues its run, distributed in theaters, on DVD or online, having won an award or not, they will forever be acknowledged by the great accolade “as seen at the 5Point Film Festival.”
The Joy Trip Project is made possible with the generous support of fans on Patreon.com
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