How do you humanize Bernie Madoff for an HBO movie? Simple: You don’t.

“There always has to be some level of denial,” says Levinson, who, incidentally, is being honored Thursday by the Washington Jewish Film Festival at a screening of his “Liberty Heights.” “I think what makes him interesting in a rather sick fashion is that this guy kept doing it and believed he could have kept doing it if not for events outside his control.” The fraud “didn’t collapse because of what he did wrong within his Ponzi scheme. It was the American economy that collapsed.”