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5Point: Watch a movie, change your life

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Film festival returns April 24-27

By Amy Hadden Marsh

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Sopris Sun Correspondent

Little did 5Point Film Festival director Sarah Wood know that one of last year’s films would change her father’s life.

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Robert Wood was visiting his daughter last spring and attended the festival. “When he came to 5Point, we were bugging him to retire,” said Sarah, meaning she and her mother and sister. Sarah describes her father as a hard-working man. “He was always a curious person but did not take risks. It was pretty much work and family.”  

Robert Wood has been a tool-and-die maker for most of his life. He and his father, who was also a machinist, are Sarah’s inspirations. “They both rode motorcycles,” she said one afternoon at her motorcycle studio behind SAW. That’s right: a motorcycle studio called Woody’s Motor Cyclery.  

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Sarah (aka Woody) resurrects old motorcycles into a kind of road art. Think: a few weeks at the motorcycle spa and a make-over. “It’s not restoring them to their original glory,” she explained. “I re-imagine vintage machines and get a piece of trash back on the road.”

Right now, she has a 1982 Yamaha 750 Virago chopper, a 1989 Yamaha Radian 600, and a 1998 Harley Davidson low-rider in her shop, a made-over wooden shed between a couple of U-Haul trucks and a hollowed-out, silver Airstream, glinting in the spring sun.

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She said working on machines is in her blood, having spent her childhood on the family farm in Indiana. “A bailer would always break down,” she told The Sopris Sun. “It was always something.” Her late grandfather rode a classic Indian motorcycle. And, her uncle restores Model T’s. “He restored an original VW Bug from Europe after World War II.”

Her dad always had a motorcycle but, she added, he was not the traditional biker-type. Nor did he let her ride when she was young. “He knew I would be too into it so he didn’t show me much,” she recalled. Sarah got her first motorcycle after graduating as a business major with a focus on the music industry from Belmont University in Nashville. “It was a Yamaha V-Star 650.”

Now her main mode of transportation is a bicycle but she hopes to get the Harley on the road this summer. In fact, she and her dad are planning a road trip in July, which probably wouldn’t have happened without the 5Point Film festival.

A changed man

So, Robert Wood comes to Carbondale in the spring of 2013, goes to 5Point Film and returns to Indiana a changed man. What happened?  

It all had to do with a five-minute film titled “35,” about a rock climber who climbs 35 pitches at Indian Creek in Utah on his 35th birthday. A line at the end is what changed Robert Wood’s life: “I don’t want to say ‘I wish’,” says the rock climber about his life. “I want to say ‘damn, that was awesome!’”

Sarah remembers her dad repeating those words to her over and over. Robert said the sentence ran through his mind long after he was back home in Indiana. “I almost could hear it echo,” he said.

So, Robert took a big step and retired from his job as foreman for a tool-and-die shop on June 10, 2013 — 45 years to the day from when he started. “I didn’t want to go through life and say ‘boy, I wish I’d have done that earlier’,” he said with a chuckle.

Sarah points to her father’s story as a prime example of the power, and the purpose, of 5Point Film. “For him to be retired and enjoying himself, that’s a really good example of what we do,” she said.

The five points of 5Point Film are what Sarah calls “guiding principles”: balance, commitment, purpose, humility, and respect. “Those are principles everyone should live by,” she explained. Especially in the outdoors industry, which she believes can be more ego-driven and less balanced than other industries. Citing events such as the X-Games, she said, “It’s all about higher, faster and harder at those events.”   

Not so the films of 5Point, which now presents festivals from Boston to Bellingham, Washington. “We want to infuse the five principles into the audience through stories and encourage people to live more consciously. We want them to think about their lives differently.”

The ultimate goal is for people to care enough about the natural world to want to protect it. “We feel our experiences in the outdoors can be transformational. We want others to be inspired and seek that out.”  

The 5Point Dream Project also serves up inspiration to high school students from Aspen to Parachute, with an opportunity to win $1,500 to pursue a passion or go on a life-changing (is there any other kind?) adventure. Timbers Resorts helps out with the grants and the project is now in its fourth year.

For Sarah Wood — and her father — it’s all about making your dreams come true, whether through filmmaking or just living a life you love.

“If the community, society, the nation, and the world were doing that,” said “the world would be a very different place.”

5Point Film 2014 screens April 24-27 at the Carbondale Recreation Center. The film schedule is available at 5pointfilm.org.           

5Point snags “DamNation”

The acclaimed documentary “DamNation” screens at 5Point at 2 p.m. on April 26. Named the Audience Choice award winner at the recent SXSW film festival in Austin, other previous and upcoming festival stops for “DamNation” include the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C., and the Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, N.C.

“DamNation,” directed by Ben Knight and Travis Rummel, explores the growing movement to remove obsolete dams in the United States and allow the backed up rivers to return to their natural state.

Former Aspen resident Katie Lee, now 94, is interviewed in the film, as is Floyd Dominy, the long-time federal Bureau of Reclamation czar who was instrumental in damming Glen Canyon.

The film also chronicles successful dam removal projects on the Kennebec, Elwha, White Salmon, Rogue and Penobscot rivers.

For ticket information, go to 5pointfilm.org.

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