The Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival brings forth Alex Karpovsky

Alex Karpovsky stars in and made "Red Flag," which plays the PJFF. Credit: Provided

When not passing cynical judgment and living out of his Mitsubishi as Ray on Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” Alex Karpovsky is an independent filmmaker with five films to his directorial credit. His latest, “Red Flag,” will screen on Wednesday as part of the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, which will present 18 films from 14 countries in a number of local venues over the next two weeks.

Karpovsky filmed “Red Flag,” in which he stars as Alex Karpovsky, a director touring his film “Woodpecker” to southern theaters, while on a tour of southern theaters. But the filmmaker cautions against confusing his onscreen and offscreen incarnations. “I feel like it’s not that autobiographical,” Karpovsky (the real one) says. “Though I have plenty of insecurities and neuroses, those are not necessarily the ones that I put in this movie. I’ve never been on a tour before, I’ve never had a groupie follow me that’s turned into a really difficult, complicated love triangle, and I’ve never been engaged to a girl, so all that stuff is narrative creation.”

The romantic complications of the film were outlined in advance, but “Red Flag” was largely improvised by the cast as they drove from town to town during the two-week tour. It was inspired by Karpovsky’s apprehension over the prospect of a protracted solo road trip. “As the time drew near I began to get very anxious that it would be a really lonely experience,” he recalls. “You have to travel five or six hours by yourself in a car, stay in low-end motels, and the allure of the American highway has long since evaporated for me. I wasn’t looking forward to it, to put it mildly.”

His appearance at PJFF should be less of an ordeal for the Brooklynite, who will also be on screens this fall in the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis.” While “Red Flag” doesn’t have the overt Jewish themes of so many WWII dramas or thrillers about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Karpovsky says that it fits in with the festival’s mission.

“My character is quite neurotic,” he says. “He’s quite self-reflective and insecure, and I think some of those elements are woven into the fabric of Jewish comedy – the neurotic, over-analytical person who’s trying to figure out these crushing, overbearing existential issues that seem to paralyze his functionality. People like Woody Allen and Larry David come to mind, and I’m certainly a big fan of both of those Jewish guys.”

 The film "Aftermath" tracks a man uncovering horrible secrets in a Polish village. Credit: Provided
The film “Aftermath” tracks a man uncovering horrible secrets in a Polish village.
Credit: Provided

Other highlights of the fest:

‘Aftermath’
This harrowing, controversial thriller concerns the secret past of a Polish village. Nov. 11, 7 p.m., International House

‘God’s Neighbors’
The festival’s opening night film is a gritty drama about a gang of religious fanatics who enforce Jewish law with baseball bats and street fights. Nov 2, 8 p.m., Gershman Y

‘One Day After Peace’
In this moving documentary, the mother of an Israeli man killed by a Palestinian sniper returns to her native South Africa to explore issues of forgiveness and reconciliation. Nov. 12, 7 p.m., Drexel’s Mitchell Auditorium

‘Paris-Manhattan’
This romantic comedy about a young French woman’s obsession with Woody Allen is patterned on “Play It Again, Sam” and features a cameo from Woody himself. Nov. 7, 7 p.m., Gershman Y

If you go:
33rd Annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival
Nov. 2-16
$12 and up, 215-545-4400
www.pjff.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.