December 13, 2019 - 8:01am
December 13, 2019 - 8:01am
Q and A with Filmmaker following the film session:
Film Length:
Film Language:
Premier Status: 
Date Completed: 
June, 1997

Caution: Strong Adult Langauge

Coven is a 1997 direct-to-video short horror 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 in black-and-white with local talent around Milwaukee.

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 which he has been affiliated and after gaining some perspective, Mike joins them. After becoming a part of the group, he comes to realize that it has a deeper occult agenda and uses extreme, sometimes supernatural, tactics to "help" new members remain clean and sober.


Mark Borchardt

Mark Borchardt is a Milwaukee based writer and filmmaker.  His 1997 film “Coven,” shot on grainy 16mm film, has achieved cult status in the realm of independent cinema.  His short plays “What's in the Box?,”  “The Painting” and “Coffee Shop” have all been accepted in short play festivals including Samuel French in Los Angeles and the Village Playhouse in Milwaukee.

His most recent film, “The Dundee Project,” has played at many film festivals including Slamdance and most recently at the South Carolina Underground Film Festival.  Last year he was the recepient of the Wisconsin Backbone of Horror award from the Twisted Dreams Film Festival and his writing has appeared in numerous publications including most recently “The Milwaukee Anthology” from Belt Publishing.His latest cinematic project, “The More the Scarier: VI” will be released this year.