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artsPlace to host Mountain Culture Summit series in Canmore

Starting Thursday (Aug. 8), the Mountain Culture Summit at artsPlace in Canmore is a full five days of films, events and workshops focusing on the culture of the mountains and some of the talents within them
Gordie Lucius poses during filming of Frick, I Love Nature. SUBMITTED PHOTO

CANMORE – From a mountain of laughs to trying to understand fear, artsPlace is giving Canmorites an opportunity to feel it all at its Mountain Culture Summit.

Starting Thursday (Aug. 8), the summit is a full five days of films, events and workshops focusing on the culture of the mountains and some of the talents within them.

One of the films presented will be Voices of Fear about Kristen Ulmer’s relationship with her own fear. Ulmer was an extreme skier who was at one point touted as the best in the world. She’s now a fear and anxiety specialist focusing on what fear is and our relationship with it, and helping people to explore that relationship.

“Anxiety is fear, they’re basically the same thing, we just don’t call it fear anymore – we call it anxiety. Nobody wants to talk about worry, butterflies, nerves … these are just other names for fear,” she said.

“It’s learning how to deal with emotions emotionally instead of intellectually … I’ll show people how to do that. It’s about tapping into the performance stage that comes from being intimate with your emotions … This is about getting people into their bodies and learning how to feel in an honest way, not just their emotions.“

A workshop and Q&A will follow the film viewing and Ulmer said she tries to cater her material to the audience she’s presenting too – in this case, a culture of risky, per se, mountain sports.

“This is very sports porn meets deep introspection, meets learning about yourself, meets learning very specific tools and techniques to be better at life,” she said.

Ulmer provides at home courses as well as in person conversations, such as the upcoming artsPlace event, to help people get in touch with their fear. Ulmer wanted to make it clear that her goal isn’t to overcome fear but rather to build a relationship with it.

While diving into fear will certainly be an interesting experience, if you’re hoping for laughter rather than deep introspection, the Mountain Culture Summit offers that, too.

For example, Frick, I Love Nature, a comedic series about a man, Gordie Lucius, exploring nature even though he isn’t all that comfortable among it, will also be open for viewing during the week-long event.

Annie Pumphrey, co-writer of the series alongside Stephen Robinson, said each episode is a way to show that nature documentaries don’t have to be rigid or boring.

“I hope that people see that nature documentaries don’t have to be super long and that nature is pretty hilarious in its own way,” she said.

The series originated in Edmonton and Pumphrey said it’s exciting to be apart of the Mountain Culture Summit where they will show their Rocky Mountain inspired episode.

“The whole summit is pretty awesome,” she said. “It’s really nice to have a whole bunch of different styles of art forms all bunched together in one week.”

Frick, I Love Nature will play at artsPlace on Saturday (Aug. 10) during the Mountain of Laughs evening, which will also feature local filmmaker, Andy Arts and storyteller, Wade Graham.

The summit will also include workshops such as a free Climber Clay Pop-Up that will dive into art using climbing equipment among three other innovative workshops like How to Win the Night of Lies to polish up your storytelling performance. For more information on the Mountain Culture Summit or to purchase tickets, visit 

About the Author: Alana MacLeod

Alana MacLeod is a reporter for the Rocky Mountain Outlook. Previously, she worked for Global News Toronto as a news producer and writer. Follow her on Twitter: @Lans_macleod
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