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American Movie

American Movie is a 1999 documentary film directed by Chris Smith. The film chronicles the real 1996–97 making of Coven, an independent horror film directed by filmmaker Mark Borchardt. Produced for the purpose of raising capital for another film that Borchardt intends to make, the epic Northwestern, Coven suffers from numerous setbacks, including poor financing, a lack of planning, Borchardt's burgeoning alcoholism, and the ineptitude of the friends and family Borchardt hires as his production team. The documentary follows Borchardt's filmmaking process from script to screen, and is interspersed with footage from both developing projects. American Movie was produced by Sarah Price and edited by Jun Diaz and Barry Poltermann.

Plot

In 1996, Mark Borchardt, a blue-collar suburbanite, dreams of being a filmmaker. However, he is also an unemployed, deeply indebted, borderline alcoholic who still lives with his parents and is estranged from his ex-girlfriend, who is threatening to revoke custody of their three children. He acknowledges his various failures but aspires to one day make more of his life.