Rebecca Karpovsky and Amanda Lundquist are the creators of the film “Pinsky,” which focuses on a 26-year-old queer woman who is an aspiring stand up comic with a complicated relationship with her Jewish grandmother. The film has been described as a mash-up of “if Darren Aronofsky made a ‘Juno’ meets ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ hybrid, minus the teen pregnancy and preoccupation with body mutilation.” Um, count me in.
We all have complicated relationships with our families, no matter how loving and supportive they may be, which is why I was attracted to this film to begin with. So, how did it actually come about? Not surprisingly, Karpovsky was inspired by her own late grandmother. Lundquist, her friend from high school, loved the idea so much she decided to help her make this film a reality. Together, they enrolled in a screenwriting class–and from there, it’s history, so to speak.
I was lucky to be able to speak with Karpovsky and Lundquist about how the film came to be, their favorite podcast, and weirdest family traditions:
Was it hard actually making and writing “Pinsky,” since it was based off of your own experiences? How have your families reacted to the project?
Amanda: Much more positively than we had thought. The writing process was difficult, while we were showing them drafts. But, once we shot it and everything was set in stone, they all understood that the film isn’t a criticism of them. It’s a loving portrait of how complicated families can be. Ultimately, they related to it.
Rebecca: There were bumps in the road. Our families did have concerns about how they themselves would be represented in the film but in the end they enjoyed it. In fact, they laughed. I watched my mother almost the entire time the film was playing and she was smiling. Amanda was watching her as well. My mother is my biggest critic so seeing her that way made it all worth it.
What do you want your viewers to come away with after seeing the film?
Amanda: I hope the little moments in the film remind them of little moments in their lives. We want the world to feel familiar and for viewers to see themselves in the film. Put more simply, I want them to laugh in recognition.
Rebecca: I’d like the film to remind them of the complexities of people and moments in their lives. I’d like them to be reminded of their own family, relatives, and friends.
If you could be anyone or anything, just for one day, what would you be?
Amanda: President Obama talking to Donald Trump the day after the election. But, I’d much rather be a fly on the wall. Having to converse with Donald must have been an excruciating endeavor for Obama.
Rebecca: Joan Rivers post-op after her first facelift, feelin’ like a new woman.
What TV show have you binge watched?
Amanda: “The Americans.” I love that there are no villains or good vs. evil archetypes. Everyone in the show is complicated, living in the gray area, justifying their violence very logically. It’s not a show about heroes and patriotism, it’s about bureaucracy and loyalty.
Rebecca: Oh man. “Breaking Bad” and “House of Cards.” Perhaps it’s the current cliche. I made every family member watch them all. Both shows are so rich and so dark. Now with everything going on, they just don’t seem too exaggerated at all. “House of Cards” feels more real and bleak then ever.
What’s your weirdest family tradition?
Amanda: We don’t have any weird family traditions. This question has thrown me into an existential crisis about what holds my family together. Uh oh!
Rebecca: I don’t know if I would call this weird but every time I fly or bus in late (like 2 a.m.) to visit home, my mom and I stand in the kitchen eating any kind of protein she has in the fridge whether it be her famous sweet duck, sausage, or chicken. All with our hands. Every time!
Least favorite Jewish phrase:
Amanda: “You don’t look Jewish.”
Rebecca: There’s nothing a Jew can say that would turn me off.
Amanda “You Made It Weird” with Pete Holmes.
Rebecca: “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.” It just reminds me of being in the car with my mom on the weekends and now I can listen to it whenever I want.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Amanda: Press the snooze button.
Rebecca: Drink a glass of lukewarm water.
What is the first website you check?
Amanda: Gmail. Sorry, boring.
Rebecca: GMAIL. Sometimes the New York Times. Sometimes!
What personal object could you not live without? (Besides your phone!)
Amanda: My family’s HBO Go password.
Rebecca: Amanda’s Amazon Prime account to watch “The Americans.”