In suburban Milwaukee, Mark Borchardt is chasing his American dream. Like aspiring filmmakers across the world, he wants to make a feature film. In Mark’s case, it’s a movie tentatively called Northwestern; a slice-of-life film about \"drinking\". But like many filmmakers, aspiring and otherwise, he has no money to complete the project. He decides to finish a 35 minute horror film - Coven - that he’s been working on and sell at least 3,000 copies to fund Northwestern. With a motley collection of friends, family and hired actors, he embarks on a low-budget quest to complete the movie.
 

4
A fascinating documentary about a tenacious Ed Wood-like filmmaker.

Wisconsin native Mark Borchardt has been making amateur films since he got an out of focus Bolex at the age of 14... he has many unreleased projects, some finished, some unfinished... for the two year period of this documentary he meanders his way through the attempt to make a feature film called Northwestern... and to raise funds for that he decides to make a 40 minute horror flick called Coven...

American Movie
follows his career, his life, his family and his friend Mike Schank. Directors Chris Smith and Sarah Price become almost part of the family in this warts and all documentary about the seemingly ineffectual Mark who, despite his addictions, has a determination in him to make his movie... it is the American dream, lived out by the most unlikely candidate... and it`s fascinating. Perhaps a touch too long, there are longeurs within the film, it`s nonetheless a fly on the wall look at middle America and the life of one of its odd dreamers... a prize-winner at Sundance last year... there`s a heart and at the same time a ruthlessness in its depiction of Mark Borchardt, filmmaker...

David`s Comment
A fascinating documentary about a tenacious Ed Wood-like filmmaker. Here`s someone without charisma and, probably, without talent who still manages to get his friends and family drop everything so he can make his dream film. All that`s missing is the chance to see The Coven- what is it really like?