[“American Movie” interview 1999]

Interview by Bill Stamets for the Chicago Sun-Times with the subjects of the 1999 documentary "American Movie," Mike Schank and Mark Borchardt, as well as its director, Chris Smith, and producer, Sarah Price.

0:04Copy video clip URL Camera opens on a the interview subjects sitting in a lounge. The interviewer, Bill Stamets, asks musician Mike Schank what inspired him to become a professional musician. He says that he likes people who practice a lot. He mentions a few musicians that he likes. The interviewer asks specifically if the musician was inspired by any magazine or newspaper articles. The man sitting next to him, filmmaker Mark Borchardt, mentions a few genre magazines that inspired him. Stamets asks what he has learned about interacting with the press, and Borchardt says that he has learned to very carefully choose his words. Chris Smith talks about some of the bad experiences they have had with the press. Sarah Price speaks about their experience at Sundance and public image.

13:45Copy video clip URL Schank tells a story about an interaction he had with his psychologist. Stamets asks how they related to each other throughout the process. Borchardt talks about his filmmaking style. They speak in general about test screenings and marketing. Stamets asks about films or filmmakers that inspired or influenced them. Price, Borchardt, and Smith respond. Smith mentions specifically that he was influenced by theatrical documentaries. Price says that there was not one particular film that she thought they used as a model.

31:20Copy video clip URL Stamets asks them to reflect on what it means to “make it in America.” Smith notes the importance of the process of the film. They talk about what motivations in a filmmaker make a good film. Borchardt says that he’s not sure most people will learn something from the film, or be able to relate to it because they are unable to see their own positions in life. 

39:50Copy video clip URL They talk about experience with TV and radio shows. Price and Smith talk about how anyone can be successful if they are doing something that makes them happy. Stamets asks their ages and if there is anything else that they want to say. Borchardt says that people have to work hard and take chances. They talk about Borchardt’s children.

52:00Copy video clip URL The interview ends. Borchardt takes a photo of Stamets and the camera man. 

53:54Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



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