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First Person

What Alex Karpovsky sees

Newton-bred actor and filmmaker Karpovsky on his indie career and playing the role of Ray in HBO’s ‘Girls,’ which ends its second season tonight.

Alex Karpovsky.

Alex Karpovsky.

My first movie was The Hole Story. I hadn’t done any short films, and I didn’t go to film school, so I kind of dove into it. I guess that’s one of the reasons it took me years to make. We shot in Minnesota for nine days, and then I spent three years EDITING IT IN MY PARENTS’ BASEMENT IN NEWTON.

I met Lena [Dunham, creator and star of Girls] at South by Southwest in 2009. She was there with her first film; I was there with my third. We spent only five or 10 minutes talking, but I liked her a lot. I was also marveling that A 22-YEAR-OLD KID HAD A FEATURE FILM AT A MAJOR FESTIVAL. We got each others’ e-mail addresses and did some DVD swaps: I showed her some of my stuff and she showed me hers. We started hanging out in New York, and then she wrote a part for me in [her film] Tiny Furniture.

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[With Girls] I NEVER EXPECTED THE SHOW WOULD BE AS SUCCESSFUL as it’s been. Its focus is so narrow that I didn’t know whether only girls between 23 and 26 would watch or only hipsters in Brooklyn. I was so proud of the show from the get-go because of how deeply ROOTED IN AUTHENTICITY it is, but I thought it might be a little too raw for people. Now I think people like the show for that very reason: It’s unfamiliar and refreshing.

I’m writing a few movies that I HOPE TO SHOOT SOON, after we wrap season three of Girls. One of them takes place on CAPE COD IN THE WINTER. Rubberneck[my movie out now] was shot entirely in Massachusetts, most of it in Medford.  — As told to Rachel Deahl

Interview has been edited and condensed.

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