I mention to Borchardt that he seems to have just summarized not only the central themes of Northwestern and "Coven" but the basic principles of his own antiestablishment m.o.--a trait further shared by both Smith and the subtly subversive, clock-punching protagonist of his debut feature American Job. Borchardt agrees immediately, citing a scene from Smith's 1996 mock-doc to complete an invigorating picture of community among like-minded Midwestern iconoclasts. "It's like in the first scene [of Job] when the employer dude is showing Randy [Scott, played by Randy Russell] around the factory, and Randy kind of strays off the path and starts looking around on his own, and the dude says, 'No, no--stay with me.' That'd never be in a Hollywood film, man."
Borchardt's own tendency to stray from the expected course of his life seems just as ingrained. "I've resented authority ever since I was a kid," he says. "And it's not like some liberal-ideological kind of thing--like, 'Oh, I'm not going to be told what to do, just on principle.' For me, it's like, I don't even care about making movies if somebody else is gonna tell me what to do. So at this point it's strictly about achieving what I want to achieve--and that's not arrogance or anything, it's just the truth. I really don't like people telling me what to do. I want to find myself through my films, and I'm not going to let anyone's interference dilute that process in any way."
VHS copies of Mark Borchardt’s “Coven” can be purchased through his Web site at www.northwestproductions.com.