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5 Point comes to the Emerson lawn Sept. 4

Explore Big Sky Staff Writer

BOZEMAN –Picture a 20-foot-tall inflatable movie screen set up on the lawn outside of the Emerson Cultural Center in downtown Bozeman. There will be food and drink vendors, local nonprofits and outdoor groups, and a two-hour film series from 5Point Film Festival, plus a piece by a local filmmaker.

Don’t forget your lawn chair.

This is the first year the Carbondale, Colo.-based 5Point Film Festival has partnered with the American Alpine Club to host an ‘on the road’ series of one-night adventure film events in the Northwest. The other three stops are Bellingham, Wash., Bend, Ore., and Boise, Idaho.

The Bozeman is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 4, at the Emerson Cultural Center’s Lawn, with the gates opening at 6 p.m.

Julie Kennedy, former co-owner of Climbing magazine with her husband Michael, founded the festival in 2008.

“She missed the times when people would come off of trips and get together to share the experience talking, showing films and slides and have a party around it” said 5Point Executive Director Sarah Wood. “What evolved was this bigger concept that adventure is more than just the act of it. It’s this deeper experience of sharing those experiences with each other and building community.

Kennedy came up with five guiding principles: balance, commitment, purpose, humility and respect.

“A balance in your life; respect for the environment that you’re recreating in, for your partners and family; the humility of knowing where you are in the world…” Wood explained. “The main point of our event is to gather a group, give them this shared experience through the films, and inspire them to go out and seek heir own adventure.”

The events will showcase selected short films from the 5Point Film Festival, which took place this spring in Carbondale, Colo., and will also feature entries from Montana filmmakers. There will also be food vendors, beverages, games, a “van life” competition, a raffle/auction fundraiser, and a recreation fair with representatives from local nonprofits and businesses.

Different film programming is planned for each of the towns, Wood said, with the lineup of 2-40 minute films “more like a concert experience, in the same way a band would put their set list together to take an audience on an emotional ride.”

5Point films aren’t just pure adventure porn – though there is some of that – nor do they have an environmental message.

“We take people on an emotional highs and lows and leave them on an emotional high a the end of the night,” Wood said. “What we see out of an audience is this awe, on the edge of their seat one moment, crying the next, and completely moved by these stories.”

The Bozeman lineup includes a short called “Duct Tape Surfing,” which depicts a woman who is a paraplegic who duct tapes herself to a friend’s back so he can take her surfing. Another follows climber Kyle Dempster on a solo bike and climbing trip through Kyrgyzstan, and a third called “The Bus” is the story of a group of college kids who bought a school bus together, installed a hot tub in the back, and took it on a wild adventure.

“We pulled out the best of the best for these,” Wood said. “What you are going to see are really great inspiring stories. We curate the human spirit.”

Festival organizers are encouraging attendees to walk, bike or bus to the Emerson, unless they are participating in the “van life” competition, which allows van “homeowners” to show off their wheels for the chance to win VIP access to the event. The event is also BYOLC (bring your own lawn chair or blanket) for seating in front of the 20-foot inflatable movie screen.

Proceeds from the event will stay in the Northwest and will help the American Alpine Club continue its stewardship and advocacy work in the area. Tickets are available at, as well as on-site the day of the event.

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