Mark Borchardt

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Mark Borchardt
Mark Borchardt Sandwich.jpg
Borchardt speaks at a preview screening of The Hagstone Demon at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis on May 8, 2008.
Born (1966-08-20) August 20, 1966 (age 54)
OccupationFilmmaker, actor

Mark Borchardt (born August 20, 1966) is an American independent filmmaker. He is best known as the subject of the 1999 film American Movie, which documented three years he spent writing, shooting and editing his horror short, Coven (1997).

Early life[edit]

Borchardt was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His mother, Monica, is Swedish.[1] He started making films at the age of fourteen with a super-8 camera that was given to him by a guy who lived down the street from him.[1] After serving three years in the military, he continued his cinematic endeavors at the local university. In the mid-nineties, he wrote and produced Halloween radio dramas which were broadcast annually and won a fellowship from the Milwaukee Art Futures Board.[2]


Filmmakers Chris Smith and Sarah Price began filming Borchardt while he was attempting to put together funding for his unfinished feature Northwestern.[2] After the project collapsed, Borchardt decided instead to finish Coven, which he had started years earlier.[3] After Coven was completed, Smith and Price compiled their footage into American Movie, which was picked up by Sony Classics and won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival.[3]

Since then Borchardt has been active appearing on television and in movies. Borchardt has made five appearances on Late Show with David Letterman,[4] including serving as Letterman's 2000 election correspondent.[5] He made several TV appearances on The Show with No Name, a show in Austin, TX, between 2000 and 2003. In 2004, he played himself in a cameo appearance on the television cartoon series Family Guy,[6] along with friend and American Movie co-star Mike Schank. He and Mike also have their own series on Zero TV, Mark and Mike and in, 2006, Mark and Mike hosted a national television special called Night of the Living Dead: LIVE from Wisconsin on Halloween night.

Borchardt has appeared in several movies, including The One (2001), The Tunnel (2001), Abby Singer, & The Godfather of Green Bay (2005). Borchardt also starred in Modus Operandi (2009), played a gravedigger in the partially animated comedy Hamlet A.D.D. (2014), had a leading role in the horror feature The Hagstone Demon (2011),[7] and played Mr. Englan in the directorial debut of fellow Milwaukee filmmaker Jozef K. Richards, The Amateur Monster Movie (2011).[8] In addition, Borchardt also made a cameo in the music video for the Leslie and the Ly's song "Zombie Killer" featuring Elvira, Mistress of the Dark on guest vocals.

He has contributed to Kevin Lindenmuth's 2001 book, The Independent Film Experience (ISBN 0786410752 ) and had his short stories published in magazines. Borchardt is one of a trio of hosts on "Cinema Fireside,"[9] a weekly film discussion show on WXRW 104.1 in Milwaukee.

In 2004, he announced he would direct Scare Me and sent out casting calls.[10] In 2008, he announced a 2009 release date, which was originally slated for a 2005 release. As of Summer 2010 the movie was still in production.[11] In April 2012, Borchardt stated that about 65% of the film had been shot, and that he was happy with the first forty pages of the script. However, he maintained parts of the script needed to be revised and while he had rough-cut some of the footage, there was no completion date in place for the project.[12] According to a March 2013 update for the Scare Me IMDb page, the release date has been set for April 1, 2014.[13]

In 2018 he directed a documentary called The Dundee Project, which focused on attendees of a UFO festival in Wisconsin. The film premiered at Slamdance Film Festival (Park City), then played at Fantastic Fest (Austin), Nighthawk Cinema (Brooklyn), and the Chicago Critics Film Festival.[14]



Year Film Role
1997 Coven Writer/Director/Producer
2000 Northwestern (In-production) Writer/Director
2018 The Dundee Project Writer/Director/Producer
2004–present Scare Me (In-production) Writer/Director


Year Film Role
1999 American Movie Self
2000 Coven Mike
2001 The One Cesar
2001 The Tunnel Lincoln
2002 Britney Baby, One More Time Dude Schmitz
2003 Living Dead Girl Jesus
2005 The Godfather of Green Bay Skeeter
2005 Zombie Island Al the drunk at the bar
2006 Family Guy (TV) Himself
2007 Confession Stand Theatre Manager
2007 The Devil's Muse Floyd
2008 First Bass Principal Papalschmeck
2009 Living Arrangements Paul
2009 Unholy Reunion Douglas - Interviewee
2009 Tapioca Harve
2009 Dozers Gawker
2009 Modus Operandi Dallas Deacon
2009 Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever Herman
2011 The Amateur Monster Movie Mr. Englan
2011 The Hagstone Demon Douglas Elmore
2012 Heavy Hands The Mechanic
2014 Hamlet A.D.D. Gravedigger
2014 Two Rivers Dirke
2016 Here Comes Rusty Oren
2016 I Am an Alien Mark
2016 Snap Shot Martin Milo
2004–present Scare Me Jeff Lavelle
2018-present Joe Pera Talks With You Mark

Music Videos

Video Band
"Dead Pan" Big D and the Kids Table
"Semantics" Tapebenders


  1. ^ a b "The Screens, Limelight: A Brush With Mark Borchardt". Austin Chronicle. November 26, 1999. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  2. ^ a b "Cutting to the chase as a filmmaker Falls man focuses on his dream". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Feb 1, 1996. Retrieved 2009-09-15.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b Morrow, Fiona (Jun 23, 2000). "The loser who made Milwaukee famous". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  4. ^ Season 7: episodes 49, 83 and 132. Season 8: episodes 44 and 193.
  5. ^ "Milwaukee Talks: Mark Borchardt, 2000". Sep 12, 2000. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  6. ^ "Borchardt and Shank make cameo on "Family Guy"". Jan 8, 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  7. ^ Smith, Zack. "Nevermore curates the latest in cinematic horror, along with a few classics". Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  8. ^ The Amateur Monster Movie (2011), retrieved 2017-02-06
  9. ^ "Cinema Fireside". Riverwest Radio WXRW 104.1. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  10. ^ "Casting call, Milwaukee style". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Jan 25, 2004. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  11. ^ "Vanishing Act: Mark Borchardt". Nerve. Feb 2, 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  12. ^ "Movie Geeks United Interview: Mark Borchardt (YouTube video)". Movie Geeks United. April 30, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  13. ^ "Scare Me". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  14. ^ "From Mark Borchardt to Bon Iver, Wisconsin Film Festival achieves peak Wisconsin". Retrieved 2020-01-12.

External links[edit]

(At the Internet Archive, 2003 and earlier; extensive use of Java applets for navigation.)