Getting a movie made is an Olympian task. Getting a movie made and released is even tougher.
So Alex Karpovsky's accomplishment -- writing, directing and starring in two movies that are being released the same day as a double-feature -- seems positively Herculean.
But that's what the 30-something multi-hyphenate will do this week, when his films, Red Flag (an improvised comedy) and Rubberneck (a scripted thriller), open in New York tomorrow (2/22/13); they're already playing on Tribeca Films' VOD outlet.
It was not by design, says Karpovsky, who shot both films in 2011 - filming Red Flag as a way to take a break from editing Rubberneck, then moving between editing the two and finishing both at roughly the same time. Rubberneck played at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, Red Flag at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival.
"Basically, I checkerboarded the production and editing of the two films," he says. "I made a mistake with my first three films, where I immediately went into editing them after I'd finished shooting. And that was just a little overwhelming; it was easy to lose perspective when you're so close to something for so long."
Karpovsky, whose day job currently is playing a Brooklyn coffeehouse manager named Ray Ploshansky on HBO's Girls, has assembled a schizophrenic double-feature, both stylistically and in subject matter. Rubberneck, storyboarded, scripted and shot with an actual crew, is a thriller about a Boston laboratory technician named Paul (played by Karpovsky) who develops an obsessive attraction to a co-worker who has no interest in him. Red Flag, shot on the fly with a one-man camera/sound crew from an outline, follows a filmmaker named Alex Karpovsky in the wake of a romantic breakup, as he tours the South, screening his most recent film.
The latter film actually blended reality with fiction: Karpovsky did tour the South, showing his second film, Woodpecker as part of a small tour of independent film venues. He invited friends along to improvise the story of the filmmaker, dealing with his relationship problems while dodging a fan he meets at one of the stops.
"It was a very lo-fi tour, where you got a per diem and stayed in crappy motels and drove yourself from city to city, showing independent films to audiences that are not normally exposed to them," he says. "And I had recently had a breakup and the last thing I wanted to do was be alone. The allure of the American highway had evaporated for me. So I invited some friends to come along. Once I had them, I thought, well, let's be constructive and do something. It was an indirect way of evading loneliness."
This interview continues on my website.