What: In the High Country film premiere
When: July 19 and 20, 7 p.m. (Friday is sold out)
Where: The Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St. Boulder
F or about a month last fall, filmmaker Joel Wolpert followed Boulder-based ultrarunner Anton "Tony" Krupicka around as he ran up and down mountains and lived out of his pickup truck, which he calls "the Roost."
West Virginia-based Wolpert lived out of his car, too, as the two of them roved along the mountains of Colorado's Front Range, Wolpert filming along the way.
Wolpert didn't want to make a movie that simply profiled Krupicka, he said, or showed him training for a big race, or documented his struggles during a first attempt. Instead, he sought to create a more abstract film about the way Krupicka lives and the backdrop for that lifestyle -- Colorado's mountains.
The new film, "In the High Country," premieres this Friday and Saturday at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder; Friday's show was sold out as of Wednesday evening. Both Wolpert and Krupicka will host a question and answer session after the 30-minute film shows both nights.
In "High Country," Wolpert said he was aiming for a bigger, more universal message: If you want to live out of your car and let the mountains dictate where you run next, here's how.
"This project -- it's much more of a lifestyle film," Wolpert said. "Obviously there's running in it, but there's also non-running parts of what it takes to live this way."
Krupicka ran his first marathon at age 12, and has run nearly 60,000 miles since then. The 29-year-old usually wears a bushy, dirty blonde beard and keeps his shoulder-length hair out of his face with a hat or bandana. When he runs, he keeps things simple by wearing a pair of shorts and tucking a few gels inside his waistband. Shoes are optional. He's won several prominent ultra races, including the Leadville 100 twice.
Wolpert got some funding from Ultimate Direction, a Boulder-based ultrarunning gear maker, but the film was otherwise low budget, he said. No helicopters, boom microphones or even a crew. Just Wolpert, his camera and Krupicka.
Ultimate Direction's Buzz Burrell, also a runner, watched one day as Wolpert and Krupicka tackled the First Flatiron for the film. Burrell was skeptical of Wolpert's climbing abilities at first, but then watched as he climbed one-handed while holding onto his camera.
Wolpert and Krupicka ran up and down Longs Peak and were back in town before lunch, Burrell said, doing what takes most people a full day in a few hours.
"This is not a glossy production here," Burrell said. "He embedded with Tony, and so whatever Tony did, he did. It's up close and personal."
For Krupicka, who blogs about his experiences running nearly every day, it's hard to put into words why he runs. One reason is because he's inspired by the landscape, he said, and feels a sense of "rightness" when he's out in the natural world.
Krupicka helped write the narration for the film, but otherwise left the artistic directing to Wolpert.
"It's all very abstract," Krupicka said. "(A) very nuanced subject matter."
After spending months with Krupicka, Wolpert has a better understanding of why Krupicka runs. It's partly because he's fascinated by Colorado's geography and partly because running is the best way he knows how to get around.
"The muses that he chooses, or choose him, are Longs Peak or the First Flatiron, and they rotate," Wolpert said. "He's using running as a vehicle to explore an area. He really likes to get to know specific spots, and the Front Range has captivated his interest.
"He wants to explore that as thoroughly as he can and by foot is his method."
--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.