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

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American Movie -- AMERICAN MOVIE is the true-tale of amateur filmmaker Mark Borchardt as he attempts to complete his short horror film, COVEN. A documentary crew captures every moment of Mark's efforts in this absolutely hilarious, poignant look at the life of an aspiring auteur.
American Movie -- A hapless amateur filmmaker struggles to produce his latest horror film, "Coven."


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7.9/10   13,202 votes »
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Release Date:
13 April 2000 (Australia) See more »
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 »
5 wins & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A great film See more (143 total) »


  (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:
Dawn Borchardt ... Mark's Daughter
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 photography
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
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 »
Rated R for language and some drug content
107 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:M | Canada:14A | Spain:13 | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #36811)

Did You Know?

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 »
Mark Borchardt:[to cast with covered faces] You guys gotta look menacing! Can you be more menacing?See more »
Hopping On Mellow StonesSee more »


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32 out of 37 people found the following review useful.
A great film, 17 November 1999
Author: Jared X from New York City

Okay, so I'm a sucker for a good documentary, particularly where it tells a modern-day Don Quixote story. A caveat: I met Mark Borchardt in the winter of 1995/96 while he was still working on Coven. But I'll save that story for later. American Movie, which commenced production not long after, accurately portrays the person that I knew, although in greater depth than I expected or believed existed. This is simultaneously a very funny and very sad film, and is brilliantly executed. Mark comes across as his own worse enemy: his childlike ambition and optimism -- which I admire -- is undermined by his apparent artistic ineptitude as well as his bizarre fiscal expectations. But he's also a charismatic guy. His loyal Sancho Panza sidekick is equally likeable: loyal, if frazzled, to the core. Like Don Quixote, American Movie presents an often-ignored inefficient aspect of freedom -- that people will be drawn toward professions to which they are not particularly well-suited, irrespective of repeated failure. It is a great film.

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Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for American Movie (1999)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
insert shot of film books A-Guna14
Source of a million one-liners junglefighter25
Did he just pocket the money? arkayenether
Uhh I just found some Mark Borchardt 8mm films in a thrift store! (ameri casiokorg
How many times is the word 'man' uttered in this film? mtj-2
A Christmas 2014 message to all Readers...... europa1140
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