CHSR Under The Radar Films
American Movie (1999) Director Chris Smith
The term ‘independent’ filmmaking has become non sequitur…maybe it has always been. The once insurmountable dream of making a feature length film has recently become a reality. Not to undermine or ignore the essential elements of craft or skill required to make anything of merit, the production tools for filmmaking have truly become accessible and available to the public – a historical moment in the populous medium of filmmaking (even if the term film is problematic or dated in the digital age). Filmmaking is truly ‘independent’. Just like the music industry before it, independent cinema is finding its DIY roots.
Before this recent revelation of freedom for the DIY filmmaking community, there were always pioneers who truly were from the fringes of the industry. Hell, literally in the backwoods. Filmmaker Chris Smith captured the passion and love of filmmaking from the most unlikely of subjects. Mike Borchardt and Mike Shank at first glance could be misinterpreted as the Beavis and Butthead of filmmakers; however, their passion and devotion to filmmaking is contagious, od not, inspirational. They are ‘real’ people trying to make a film for little money, no matter the cost. For me, they represent the spirit of the NB Film Coop. American Movie is one of the best documentaries I have seen on filmmaking with its hilarious, poignant, and endearing story of one man’s determination to make his dreams a reality. Success is in the eyes of the beholder or in Mike Borchardt’s case ‘Coven’. Highly recommended.