Director finds himself with ‘Hole Story’

Urban legends have the power to entice, but for director Alex Karpovsky, telling the story of the black hole of North Long Lake through film became a journey of self-discovery.

The film depicts Karpovsky as the main character, a struggling artist who travels to Minnesota to collect material for a pilot called the Provincial Puzzlers, which is about small town legends in America.

"I thought the tone of it would be perfect for this show that I’ve been trying to pitch for many years in New York called Provincial Puzzlers," Karpovsky said.

The story begins when Karpovsky and his crew arrive to Minnesota only to discover the lake had frozen over like all other surroundings lakes. This contradicted the legend of North Long Lake that had possessed a stretch of water on its surface in arctic temperatures.

"The night before we actually arrived in Minnesota the lake froze over. There was no mystery to be solved," Karpovsky said. "That’s where the story kind of begins and gains momentum."

The main character, Karpovsky, is dumped by his girlfriend two weeks into preproduction, endures hardship editing footage unfit of telling a mystery and reaches a point where he institutionalizes himself. These events were inspired by real-life situations Karpovsky faced.

"Most of it is true, there is a lake in Minnesota. I was an aspiring director who was editing karaoke videos…. The premise and backdrop is true, but the way he deals with it afterwards, we have some creative liberties in there," he said.

The film, which Karpovsky describes as a comedy rather than a documentary, captures the emotional distress of chasing after goals and the real life obstacles that come with living a dream.

"We follow this aspiring director as he tries to deal with this huge obstacle. Slowly this black hole becomes metaphorical properties for this person, it’s not just a hole in the lake, but it’s the hole in his life and in his dreams, and in our American society in general," he said.

Through an arduous journey Karpovsky was able to capture the phenomenon on film after 18 months. Past events in the small town of Brainerd, Minnesota first inspired him to produce the film.

"When I heard about this strange lake in Minnesota, that the whole community embraced and made into a tourist attraction, build boards for it, (it was) just a really weird strange hometown story," Karpovsky said.

The School of Art will feature Karpovskys film The Hole Story beginning 5 p.m. Thursday at Dudley Hall.

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