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November 5, 1999

American Movie is a 1999 documentary film directed by Chris Smith. The film chronicles the real 1996–97 making of Coven (1997), an independent horror film directed by filmmaker Mark Borchardt. Produced for the purpose of raising capital for another film that Borchardt intends to make, the epic Northwestern, Coven suffers from numerous setbacks, including poor financing, a lack of planning, Borchardt's burgeoning alcoholism, and the ineptitude of the friends and family Borchardt hires as his production team. The documentary follows Borchardt's filmmaking process from script to screen, and is interspersed with footage from both developing projects. American Movie was produced by Sarah Price and edited by Jun Diaz and Barry Poltermann.

Filming for American Movie began in September 1995 and concluded in August 1997. The film was a critical success upon its debut and went on to win the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, and has since gone on to be considered a cult film.

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