American Dream in ‘American Movie’

Aug 15, 2014
Mark Borchardt, left, and his best friend Mike Schank struggle to make a horror flick in the award-winning documentary “American Movie.”

Thomaston — Thomaston Public Library will host a Saltwater Film Society screening of 1999's “American Movie” Thursday, Aug. 21, at 6:30 p.m. The library is housed in the Thomaston Academy building, 60 Main St./Route 1. Parking and the library entrance are at the rear of the building.

The Australian documentary was directed by Chris Smith. On the northwest side of Milwaukee, Mark Borchardt dreams the American dream — for him, it's making movies. Using relatives, local theater talent, slacker friends, his Mastercard and $3,000 from his Uncle Bill, Borchardt strives over three years to finish "Coven," a short horror film.

Borchardt’s own personal demons (alcohol, gambling, a dysfunctional family) plague him, but he desperately wants to overcome self-doubt and avoid failure. In moments of reflection, he sees his story as quintessentially American and it is the nature and nuance of his dream that this film, awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, explores. The New York Times named it one of the 1,000 Greatest Movies Ever Made.

For more information about the Saltwater Film Society, visit saltwaterfilmsociety.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Watch the trailer
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