Don’t go to the 5point Adventure Film Festival—it will wreck your life—in all the best ways possible. The power of visual story-telling is real. As humans, our inspiration thrives off of the story of the underdog. We are (inspired) by people who push beyond what is easy, overcome and show just what humans are capable of achieving. I know a lot of people who’ve been wrecked by this festival, in all the very best ways. And this year I found out for myself.
When she founded the festival, Julie Kennedy set it to shake up people’s life for the better. On Thursday you arrive to the fest with an open mind, excited for the fun. At the “van life rally” you see first-hand the miniature mobile houses of climbers, skiers, photographers, adventure film-makers—people who are choosing adventure, travel and discovery over settling for normalcy. You’re shown examples of people making this lifestyle work, and these are the vessels they choose to do it through. You start questioning: “Wow, I guess this lifestyle is actually possible … and here are the people who are making it work.” #Vanlife. These vans are not all the expensive sprinters that you see on Instagram—there’s an assortment of dirt-baggery’s finest. Converted Astrovans, a school bus full of vagabonds, a restored-with-love trailer, and even an outfitted Outback. They’re “mountain condos with a view” because as the cheesy-but-true saying goes: “home is truly where you park it.”
Now that we’ve seen that this adventure lifestyle is possible and how to do it, we enter into the first round of films. This year the heartstring tugs started with is a story of a 75-year-old who’s still running mountain marathons, a woman who left her city job to learn from and live with the Masai, and a guy—Ben—inspired by Kyle Dempster’s The Road From Karakol (please watch if you haven’t) to ride across the Canadian arctic. There’s a woman broke with traditional Himalayan culture and became a professional trail runner in Nepal, and a bunch of super stoker women absolutely shredding life from climbing, to biking to skiing set to a fantastic song. Wow, those women kill it, and make me want to try some of those things. And then there’s the man who devoted his life to putting up first ascents across the nation and inspired a generation of climbers. Wow.
After the films we head to a nearby distillery, where we drink, eat, catch-up, conspire and celebrate. Eventually we meander our way back to the our respective sleeping pads, inspired, a little tired, but primed for what’s to come.
The following days continue in this pattern: panel discussion/good conversation/more inspiration/adventure films/more celebration, until Sunday where you’re an emotional wreck –physically and mentally tired from hours of inspirational films, deep and meaningful conversations and celebrating life. I’m still not sure whether Sunday’s films were really that much more emotional, or I just found myself in tears after every single film because I was so emotionally opened.
The 5 Point Adventure Film Festival is an emotional roller coaster. These visual stories are the ones that pull on your heart strings and remind you of what’s truly important in life: community and the places we share community, caring for those around you and the earth we are provided with.
These are the stories of modern legends, of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. These stories show you that you don’t have to be Sir Edmund Hillary in order to discover something inside yourself through the challenge and adventure of doing something new. As humans, we’re capable of so much more than what we ever thought was possible.
The 5 Point Adventure Film Festival is “not your average adventure film fest.” There’s something about the type of films, the community that gathers, and the deep and meaningful relationship and conversations that take place there. They leave you questioning your lifestyle, second-guessing your 9-5 job, and challenging you to live life to the fullest.
Don’t go to 5 Point unless you want to challenge your world view and be inspired to live your life to its fullest.