Coven (film)

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This article is about the 1997 film. For the 2015 film, see The Coven (film). For other uses, see coven (disambiguation).
Coven (film).jpg
Directed by Mark Borchardt
Produced by Bill Borchardt
Mark Borchardt
Written by Mark Borchardt
Starring Mark Borchardt
Tom Schimmels
Miriam Frost
Robert Richard Jorge
Mike Schank
Music by Patrick Nettesheim
Edited by Mark Borchardt
Distributed by Northwest Productions
Release date
  • 1997 (1997)
Running time
36 minutes
Country United States
Language English

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.[1] It was shot with local talent around Milwaukee.

Sales and distribution[edit]

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.[2] 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 (now defunct).[3] By 2004, Borchardt sold 5,100 copies of "Coven" at $14.95.[4]

Plot summary[edit]

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.

Critical reception[edit]

Critical reception for Coven has been negative and the film holds a rating of 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 8 reviews.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

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,[6] and Greg the Bunny, in which they parody scenes from the movie.


  1. ^ Thomas, Kevin (Nov 12, 1999). "Movie Review; 'American Movie' Turns Camera on Indie Filmmaker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  2. ^ Morrow, Fiona (Jun 23, 2000). "The loser who made Milwaukee famous". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  3. ^ "2 LOCAL FILM STUDENTS DAZZLE REDFORD, OTHERS, WITH OFFBEAT MOVIE ABOUT A MOVIE". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Mar 7, 1999. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  4. ^ "`AMERICAN MOVIE'S' BORCHARDT SEEKS TO FINISH `NORTHWESTERN'". Capital Times. Feb 2, 2004. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  5. ^ "Coven (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Borchardt and Shank make cameo on "Family Guy"". Jan 8, 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 

External links[edit]