Colorado’s Sarah Wood, executive director of the 5Point Film Festival, says the three-day event, which takes place Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 15-17, at Mount Baker Theatre and other venues around town, is a lot more than just a film festival.
“The program features a blend of live performances, spoken word, guest speakers, and other surprises along the way that take the audience on an emotional ride through inspiring film and performance,” she says. “We like to call it a ‘concert-style’ festival.”
Bellingham’s Dana Thornton proudly says she first brought 5Point Film to the Northwest in 2013. Over the past three years, she has produced the one-night 5Point Film “On the Road” event through her business, Get Out Events, as well as the Adventure Disco Block Party last August.
She’s now the Pacific Northwest event manager for 5Point Film in Bellingham, making connections, delving into logistics, and rallying the community around the festival.
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Not one to sit still, Thornton also pours beer at Kulshan Brewery three nights a week and she just wrapped up a three-month contract assisting with events at the Downtown Bellingham Partnership through her business, which included assisting with Bellingham Beer Week.
Our town is full of people who engage passionately with the outdoors.”
Dana Thornton, event promoter
Thornton’s passions lie in community development and the outdoor recreation and adventure industry, with roots in social justice and inclusivity. She’s driven by projects that hit on three levels— individual, community, and what she calls “big picture.”
The 5Point Film Festival is a perfect example of an event that hits all of those levels, she says.
“Our town is full of people who engage passionately with the outdoors,” Thornton says. “We have adventurers of all varieties —kayaking, sailing, mountain biking, ultra-running, rock-climbing, ski-mountaineering, snowboarding, and more.”
5Point is known for stretching the typical sense of an “adventure film,” Thornton says. Not everything is skiing, biking, mountaineering, climbing or surfing; some films that might not seem to fit the genre are chosen because they reach out to core reasons behind why people pursue their passions.
This community event will be visually stunning — and lighthearted — but also unique to the adventuring community.
Dana Thornton, event promoter
“Some films will make you laugh out loud, others make you choke back tears, some make you gasp, some make you cheer,” she says.
“We include a film that features a young child who finds release from bullying through breakdancing; a film that features a man raking beautiful designs into the sand at a beach just to watch it all disappear when the tide comes in; and there are films that are spoken-word poetry matched with illustrations,” she says.
Another festival highlight is a “van life” rally from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday on Commercial Street, in front of Mount Baker Theatre.
“Essentially, it is a car show of sorts, featuring ‘dirtbag’ adventure vehicles that range from top-of-the-line Mercedes Sprinter Vans to old pickup trucks with tiny homes built on the back, to revamped school buses to Westfalia Vanagons,” Thornton says. “This community event will be visually stunning — and lighthearted — but also unique to the adventuring community. I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of hopping into an old VW and running off on an adventure?”
It’s exciting to see the festival come together ... even with the weather sometimes threatening to bring it down, according to event photographer Rory Savatgy.
Other events include a panel discussion with Seattle’s Fitz Cahall, the voice behind “The Dirtbag Diaries” podcast: photographer Ben Moon; mountain biker Nick Geddes; and videographer Leo Zuckerman, among others, at 11 a.m. Saturday at Backcountry Essentials; a youth adventure film program at 11 a.m. Saturday; and a late-night dance party at 11 p.m. Saturday at Make.Shift.
Rory Savatgy, a photographer and videographer in Bellingham, is in his second year of documenting events at the festival. He says it’s exciting to see the festival come together with the support of local businesses even with the weather sometimes threatening to bring it down.
“Anytime the streets in Bellingham are shut down and the space is opened up for an event like 5Point or the Commercial Night Market, a new feel comes over the event,” he says. “Kinda like the scene in “Step Up 2 The Streets,” when the dancers take it to the streets and have a dance-off in the rain.”
“For me, as I was sitting watching the inspiring videos from all over the world, in the sprinkling rain, surrounded by so many others, I felt more a part of this community.”
5Point Film Festival
When: Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 15-17
Where: Mount Baker Theatre, Pickford Film Center, and other Bellingham venues
Cost: Some events free; some charge admission. Tickets are $15 Thursday night, Oct.15, at Elizabeth Station, 1400 W. Holly St.