American Movie

American Movie (Chris Smith)

American Movie showcases a down-and-out filmmaker and his quest to create movies he's written 5-10 years ago. The movie features Mark Borchardt a 30+ year old guy that lives with his parents, drinks beer, and works at a cemetary while he dreams up horror movies. Mark is a movie enthusiast but lacks organizational skills (like Ed Wood). Mark is accompanyed by his best friend Mike Schank, a 30+ year old Black Sabbath fan and former acid dropper. The movie shows the struggle of Mark trying to complete a movie he wrote years ago, called Coven, just to finance his new venture Northwestern, to be set in Milwaukee. Mark borrows money from his uncle Bill to help pay for beer and camera film. The movie is really funny and should be the cornerstone of every family video library. The Gary Gaetti Cult firmly gives American Movie it's stamp of approval. A Gaetti classic for years to come.

Mark Borchardt

In 1980 at the age of fourteen, Mark Borchardt realized what he had to do. He bought his first movie camera, a Super-8 that barely focused, for forty dollars from a friend down the street. With this came a horror movie titled The More The Scarier, Mark’s first film, which was shot in his backyard and local cemetery. After this, Mark went on to shoot five more shorts while erratically drinking and getting high: The Mad Doctor’s Monster, Rocketship 101, The More The Scarier II, I Blow Up, and a more advanced effort, Let There Be Light. In May of 1984, rather than join a homogenized society and become a zombie, Mark enlisted into the army, drinking away the next three years.

Mark filming a friend

Once back, Mark completed The More The Scarier III. Then he went on to write theater and film reviews in local free press papers. He also joined the Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum, ascending to Chairman of the Board of the nationwide organization. By the end of 1993, Mark realized he wasn’t getting anywhere cinematically, so he started writing Coven in his 1982 Mercury Zephyr with a thermos of coffee at the small plane airport down the street from home. Shooting weekends, Mark filmed a good piece of Coven before it fell apart due to his lack of discipline, drinking, and running out of money. Having self-resolved his alcohol troubles, Mark kept scraping, borrowing, replacing the cast, and reshooting scenes until the film was finally completed.

Mike Schank

Mike Schank lives in Milwaukee and spends most of his time playing guitar, buying lottery tickets and helping Mark Borchardt on his films. Mike quit all drugs and alcohol a month before filming began and has now been clean for over four years. Mike also performed all the music for American Movie. To date, Mike has won almost four thousand dollars playing scratch-off’s. His current goals include quitting smoking and becoming better at karate and guitar.

If you enjoyed the movie and feel like speaking with Mike Schank, you may call him anytime in his basement at: 414-466-mike. He will answer if he's home.

American Movie's Mark Borchardt (right) and the equally funny Mike Schank.

Mark working on film in his parent's basement.

A very funny picture of Mike Schank with uncle Bill on the shooting of "Coven".

Mark and Mike in Milwaukee

Mark shooting a scene from "Northwestern".

****Mark and Mike have a cool site at ****