American Movie

Rated R 107 minutes

Wisconsin filmmaker Mark Borchardt tries to raise money for a feature by finishing a short called Coven in this intimate 1999 documentary directed and shot by Chris Smith (American Job). Smith and producer Sarah Price, who recorded the sound, are unseen as they capture what appears to be the raw experience of the sometimes depressive Borchardt and his troupe of wavering supporters. Yet the filmmakers' presence is felt in the movie's refusal either to dismiss Borchardt's ambitions or exalt them. Often coming across as simultaneously self-possessed and out of control, Borchardt can't have been an easy target, but the filmmakers nail him.

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