First Waves at 5Point Film Festival Pittsburgh

There’s something about outdoor film festivals that makes you question what you’re capable of.  The combination of immaculately captured places, harrowing adventures, and a cast of characters only conjured by sports involving leaps from cliffs, vertical climbs, or skate boards hurdling down mountain roads at 70-mph.  But why are these festivals so moving?  Sure, you could probably watch something similar in the comfort of your couch on YouTube, but don’t you already do that 6 times a day at work?  There are a few reasons why film festivals can be so enjoyable and moving, but one stands out above the rest.

The obvious ones are the large screens and booming sound systems that exemplify the filmmaking in a setting it was designed for.  Whether it’s a waterfall decent set to a pumping DubStep track, or a panoramic sunset pulled beyond the horizon by a stringed quartet – the sensory sensations alone are enough to justify the price of admission. But rubbing shoulders in a theatre (or awesome climbing gym) with hundreds of other people that all share a love for the natural world is the defining ingredient.

It is the collective gasps when a climber takes a whipping fall, or the laughter when an Alex Honnold type says, literally, anything at all.  These things are relatable, but so many of us enjoy the outdoors with just one or two other friends.  We seek that solitude in our hikes, bikes, and paddles, but film festivals are a time when we can take it all in together and bask in the inspiration that outdoor pursuits and natural places brings to every one of us.  The 5point Film Festival in Pittsburgh last weekend was one of those times.

Thanks to the brainchild of local marketing firm, Cultivate, and the burgeoning outdoor retailer, 3-Rivers Outdoor Company, 5point made its first ever screening in Pittsburgh.  The festival took place at Ascend – Pittsburgh’s newest rock climbing gym in South Side.  With free climbing included with the ticket, beer provided by East End Brewing, and amazing raffle prizes from vendors and sponsors – the festival had something for everyone.  Several people even slung hammocks and webbed viewing platforms 20 – feet above the ground for additional seating.

Ascend Gym Screening

Thanks to the goodwill of the festival organizers, the raffle earnings were donated to two local programs, the Southwestern PA Climbers Coalition and….FIRST WAVES!  To showcase the program, First Waves preempted the show with a screening of their student-produced film, “River of Change.”  Whether you were dangling from a ceiling strung hammock, lounging on the crash pads among the rock walls, or simply sitting in a chair (weirdo) – you were sure to feel the inspiration that came from the watching the films and sharing the experience with the ever-growing Pittsburgh outdoor community.

A tremendous thanks to everyone that helps support the First Waves Program and put on such an incredible event!