|Directed by||Mark Borchardt|
|Produced by||Bill Borchardt
|Written by||Mark Borchardt|
Robert Richard Jorge
|Music by||Patrick Nettesheim|
|Edited by||Mark Borchardt|
|Distributed by||Northwest Productions|
|Running time||36 minutes|
Coven is a 1997 black and white direct-to-video horror short film directed by Mark Borchardt. The making of the film was documented in the 1999 award-winning independent film American Movie. It was shot with local talent around Milwaukee.
Sales and distribution
Coven was largely funded by Mark's uncle Bill Borchardt's savings with the understanding that Mark must sell 3,000 copies in order for Bill to make his money back. However, Bill died shortly after the release of Coven. Bill, along with Mark and an assortment of friends and neighbors, star in the film. The movie was sold through his website www.northwestproductions.com (now defunct). By 2004, Borchardt sold 5,100 copies of "Coven" at $14.95. As of November 2013, Coven has been remastered and re-released on Blu-ray.
The film introduces Mike (Borchardt) as a writer struggling with a lack of artistic productivity. To deal with the pressures he feels from within and without, he escalates his abuse of alcohol. One day when faced with overwhelming deadlines, he takes a large quantity of pills with alcohol resulting in an overdose and hospitalization. When Steve (Tom Schimmels) takes notice of Mike's increasing volatility and isolation, he confronts the defensive writer. Steve shows genuine concern for his friend's self-destructive behavior and intervenes. The film suggests by lack of others at the intervention that Steve may be the only friend Mike has left. Steve suggests a support group with whom he has been affiliated and after gaining some perspective, Mike joins them. After becoming a part of the group, he comes to realize that the group has a deeper occult agenda and use extreme, sometimes supernatural, tactics to "help" new members remain clean and sober.
In popular culture
Coven established Borchardt as an amateur filmmaker. American Movie helped Mark get noticed to a broader audience, which led to appearances (along with co-producer Mike Schank) in television programs like Family Guy, and Greg the Bunny, in which they parody scenes from the movie.
- Thomas, Kevin (Nov 12, 1999). "Movie Review; 'American Movie' Turns Camera on Indie Filmmaker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- Morrow, Fiona (Jun 23, 2000). "The loser who made Milwaukee famous". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- "2 LOCAL FILM STUDENTS DAZZLE REDFORD, OTHERS, WITH OFFBEAT MOVIE ABOUT A MOVIE". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Mar 7, 1999. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- "`AMERICAN MOVIE'S' BORCHARDT SEEKS TO FINISH `NORTHWESTERN'". Capital Times. Feb 2, 2004. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- "Borchardt and Shank make cameo on "Family Guy"". OnMilwaukee.com. Jan 8, 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-15.