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American Movie

Chris Smith
USA 1999 / 107’

This is not just another American rags-to-riches story. In this American Movie, even though amateur director Mark Borchardt desires fame and money, he shares nothing in common with the charming dreamers and handsome enthusiasts propagated by mainstream films. His determination is outpaced only by his arrogant brashness as opposed to talent. He also drinks heavily, borrows money with no intent of paying it back. Mark is reminiscent of a grunge-era Ed Wood in his desperate fight for his low budget horror, flannel shirt and greasy hair. His private war plays out in the gray and depressing suburbs, the proverbial BFE, where the American dream nods off into a shallow and feverish nap.


Sundance FF 1999 – Grand Jury Prize; Denver IFF 1999 – People’s Choice Award

Chris Smith

Chris Smith was born in 1970 and studied at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. In college, he made his debut film, American Job. While editing it, he met Mark Borchardt, an underground director, and decided to produce his next film together. American Movie received an award at the Sundance Film Festival and remains his best-known production. Smith also makes documentary films, including Home Movie, The Yes Men and Collapse.

Selected filmography

1995 American Job

1999 American Movie

2001 Home Movie (doc.)

2003 The Yes Men (doc.)

2007 The Pool

2009 Upadek / Colapse (doc.)

Related articles

Official site

Cast & Crew

director Chris Smith
cinematography Chris Smith
editing Jun Diaz, Barry Poltermann
music Mike Schank
cast Mark Borchardt, Tom Schimmels, Monica Borchardt, Alex Borchardt, Chris Borchardt, Ken Keen
producer Sarah Price, Chris Smith, Jim McKay, Michael Stipe
production Bluemark Productions, C-Hundred Film Corporation, Civilian Pictures
sales SPC
language English
colouration colour