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American Movie

The story of filmmaker Mark Borchardt, his mission, and his dream. Spanning over two years of intense struggle with making a movie, family issues, financial decline, and personal crisis, AMERICAN MOVIE is a portrait of ambition, obsession, excess, and one man’s formidable quest for the American Dream.

Director: Chris Smith
Year: 1999
Time: 107 min

 American Movie
(1999) on IMDb

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Ways to Influence

Share this film. Give others the chance to learn and be inspired by its story.

Visit the AMERICAN MOVIE webshop, where you can purchase Mike Schank’s songs or a signed DVD, in addition to finding a number of director Chris Smith’s other productions.

Help those around you affected by alcohol or drug addiction. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence offers useful resources for anyone either directly or indirectly affected by addiction.

Pursue something in your life, be it an interest, hobby, or career that you feel held back from. Write a list of 5 things you can do to get started and begin checking them off.

Support independent film projects. Not every independent filmmaker has an Uncle Bill. Both Indiegogo and Kickstarter are excellent platforms for supporting – and finding support for – independent film projects.

Related Articles and Resources

Mark Borchardt Directed a Gory New Music Video

“Mark Borchardt, subject of the inspiring, funny, essential 1999 documentary AMERICAN MOVIE, hasn’t exactly been busy as a filmmaker since the movie came out. He’s still working on NORTHWEST and SCARE ME, his two long-gestating feature projects. ”

Continue reading here.

American Dream is Still Alive, But Unrecognized

“A new study shows that a majority of Americans are living the American Dream — even if they largely don’t realize it.”

“If you’re new to this country, then life seems pretty good here,” Delahorne said. “But for many people who have lived here a long time, they’ve started to think of the American Dream less as the traditional elements, and more relative to wealth.”

Is There a Link Between Creativity and Addiction?

Find out on Scientific American.

The Six Most Important Things That Make a Good Horror Film

“Horror movies, as a genre, come in all shapes and sizes. But they’re all made to do one thing: scare. ”

Continue reading here.

Movie Partner Did Her Wrong, Woman Says

The co-director of the AMERICAN MOVIE claims her partner cheated her of credit for it. Find out more here.

The Neuroscience of Perseverance

“Perseverance separates the winners from the losers in both sports and life. Are you someone who perseveres despite difficulties and setbacks, or do you tend to throw in the towel and call it quits when faced with a challenge or adversity?”

Continue reading on Psychology Today.

Interview With Mark Borchardt

“In the modest melee of a documentary press tour, Indie Wire grabbed interviews with director Chris Smith and producer Sarah Price, as well as with the subject of “American Movie,” the one and only aspiring filmmaker, Mark Borchardt.”


The following six films allow us a view of the world detached from logic through the eyes of dreamers and madmen.

The 30 Best American Independent Horror Films

“From independent professional producers like Roger Corman to intrepid first-timers (and sometimes only-timers) assembling a small crew and making a movie on their own terms, American independent filmmaking has a long, honorable tradition of low-budget scares.

The Dissolve decided to determine the 30 best examples of this tradition.”


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