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
Local

Grimm choice: Tax fraud trial could dog NY…

Rep. Michael Grimm may be splitting his time between the campaign trail and a courtroom where he is due to face tax evasion charges.

Local

Met Opera, unions extend talks for 72 hours,…

Met Opera agreed to extend negotiations with its labor unions for 72 hours, preventing a threatened lockout, the organization said late Thursday.

Local

MAP: New York City street closures August 2…

Summer Streets, the NYC Triathlon, the Ecuadorian Parade and festivals will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on 'Calvary' and his very…

Brendan Gleeson discusses how "Calvary" began over drinks and how his priest character is the opposite of the officer he played in "The Guard."

Movies

Interview: Chris O'Dowd does funny and serious in…

Chris O'Dowd talks about "Calvary," an Irish comedy-drama about a priest (Brendan Gleeson) under fire.

Movies

'Alive Inside' and 'Code Black' are documentaries with…

Two new documentaries — "Alive Inside" and "Code Black" — portray different issues but suffer from the same problem.

Music

Caught a Ghost catches a soul/rap vibe

Jesse Nolan says Caught a Ghost's sound aims for two things everybody likes: soul music and '90s rap.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…