IMDb > American Movie (1999)
American Movie
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American Movie (1999) More at IMDbPro »

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American Movie -- A hapless amateur filmmaker struggles to produce his latest horror film, "Coven."

Overview

User Rating:
7.9/10   12,429 votes »
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Director:
Contact:
View company contact information for American Movie on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 April 2000 (Australia) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
3 wins & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Don't Let This Happen To You See more (139 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Mark Borchardt ... Filmmaker
Tom Schimmels ... Actor in 'Coven'
Monica Borchardt ... Mark's Mom
Alex Borchardt ... Mark's Brother
Chris Borchardt ... Mark's Brother
Ken Keen ... Friend / Associate Producer
Mike Schank ... Friend / Musician
Matt Weisman ... Casting director
Bill Borchardt ... Mark's Uncle / Executive Producer (as Uncle Bill)
Cliff Borchardt ... Mark's Dad
Tom Beach ... Production manager
Joan Petrie ... Mark's Girlfriend / Associate Producer
Robert Richard Jorge ... Actor
Dean Allen ... Props / Special effects
Tommy Dallace ... The Movie Star
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Miriam Frost ... Actor in 'Coven'

Billy Crystal ... Academy Awards EmCee (uncredited)

Louis Sather ... Himself (uncredited)

Directed by
Chris Smith 
 
Produced by
Jim McKay .... co-producer
Sarah Price .... producer
Chris Smith .... producer
Michael Stipe .... co-producer
 
Original Music by
Mike Schank 
 
Cinematography by
Chris Smith 
 
Film Editing by
Jun Diaz 
Barry Poltermann 
 
Production Management
Paul Mezey .... post-production supervisor
 
Sound Department
Todd Leach .... sound
Didier Leplae .... sound
Alex Markowski .... sound re-recording mixer
Sarah Price .... sound
Doug Ruschaupt .... sound
Jason Tucker .... sound
Neil Whitacre .... sound
Peter Zinda .... sound designer
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Sarah Price .... additional photographer
 
Editorial Department
Ray Chi .... associate editor (as Raymond Chi)
Mark Ginsberg .... color timer
Scott Reeder .... associate editor
Scott Wintheiser .... associate editor
 
Music Department
Julie Panebianco .... music supervisor
 
Other crew
Todd Bishop .... titles: 16 mm
Dick Blau .... creative consultant
Patrick Buckley .... production assistant
Dane Didier .... production assistant
Dan Ollman .... production assistant
 
Thanks
Bob Fagan .... special thanks
Wrye Martin .... special thanks
Tony Morrone .... special thanks
Dean Silvers .... special thanks
Kathryn Tucker .... thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"American Movie: The Making of Northwestern" - USA (complete title)
See more »
MPAA:
Rated R for language and some drug content
Runtime:
107 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Australia:M | Canada:14A | Spain:13 | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #36811)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The movie theater featured in the end of the film is the Times Cinema in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's west side. It specializes in obscure and independent films and is Milwaukee's sole surviving independent movie theater.See more »
Quotes:
Friend/Musician:[pointing to a makeshift crucifix] This is definitely a sign of voodoo.
Mark Borchardt:Why is it a sign of voodoo?
Friend/Musician:It's an unnatural cross, Mark!
Mark Borchardt:What, you think when Jesus was hanging there, he thought it was natural?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Hopping On Mellow StonesSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
20 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
Don't Let This Happen To You, 24 December 2006
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas

Praised by some, loathed by others, this Chris Smith documentary tells the real-life story of a twenty-something, amateur filmmaker named Mark Borchardt who sets out to complete his thirty minute film "Coven", as a first step toward what he hopes will be a lifelong career in feature film-making. Working menial jobs, Mark lives at home in his parent's basement. He's deep in debt. And he has no professional experience. What he does have is idealism, enthusiasm, supreme confidence, and enormous determination and zeal. The question in my mind was: does Mark have ... talent?

Reminiscent of Michael Moore's "Roger & Me" (1989), "American Movie" is both funny and depressing. We watch Mark: write a script, cast players, direct, edit, and especially crucial in Mark's case, find funding. With every one of these tasks Mark plods along frustrated, but determined. All of these activities involve other people, including his mom, his spaced-out friend Mike, and other locals. One of these locals is his real-life Uncle Bill who looks to be in his eighties.

At one point Uncle Bill, sitting in his cluttered trailer, demands to be fed before he will consent to being filmed. Later, Mark, being a perfectionist, requires more "takes" since Uncle Bill can't seem to get it right. Mark to Uncle Bill: "You have to believe in what you're saying", to which Uncle Bill responds: "Well, I don't; I don't believe in nothing you're doing". After "take" 31, Uncle Bill rebels: "Isn't that enough now? That's all for me".

Some reviewers of "American Movie" have criticized it as pointless voyeurism into the life of a no-talent loser. They refer to Mark and his cohorts as "trailer park white trash". Certainly, that is one interpretation, and along with it the conclusion that the film is a sad commentary on the impossibility of achieving Hollywood's idea of the American Dream, when you have no money to work with.

But other reviewers find the film to be inspiring, a cinematic pep talk for the underdog, and brutally honest about the realities of indie film-making. These viewers point out that despite the fact that Mark had no money to speak of, he still completed his film "Coven", and got it shown at the local theater.

My own conclusion is that "American Movie" is a well-crafted documentary useful for first time indie filmmakers. It's similar to a TV reality show, but without the competition. The cinematography and the editing are excellent. Although I found Mark to be irritating at times and overconfident of his skills, I admired his optimism and determination. "Coven", included as an extra on the DVD, may be a cinematic train wreck. But Mark's overall experience is no less valid as a guide to others. In essence, the message of "American Movie" is: don't let this happen to you.

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Message Boards

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Uncle Bill is f'ing awesome FrankLefanu
Find Out Where The Guys in 'American Movie' Are Now problyamistakej
Source of a million one-liners junglefighter25
Has Mark Seen American Horror Story? JediRob
Mike maxi-foo
insert shot of film books A-Guna14
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