My American Dream



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About Film

This video collection of three episodes is part of a larger ten-part series that explores the “American Dream.” The three segments presented in this collection are portraits of unique individuals whom the filmmaker met during his travels to Middle America, searching out varying elements of American culture. These insightful and comic vignettes will inspire dialogue about how we define the “American Dream.”

“It’s been called ‘Junk’,” John Coyne comments on his lucrative “Resource Recovery” operation. Over the course of several years, Coyne has been involved in legal battles concerning his collection of military tanks, many of which boast swastikas. “To me it means that I was a victim of National Socialism.” This first video examines the man behind the “Media Event,” a self-proclaimed “incurable capitalist,” and his latest battle with his South Western Ohio community.

The second installment of “My American Dream” explores the case of an exotic dancer from Newport, Kentucky who was fined $200 dollars for exposing “a bit too much.” Dancers Wanted is based on an actual event, but the names were changed. Corina Joe Peach had inadvertently broken the City ordinance when she covered herself with transparent band-aids.This documentary short includes interviews with Corina’s family and neighbors, and features a searing version of “Sweet Bunch of Daisies.”

Every day, 32,000 cars and trucks pass by the El Rancho Rankin Motel off Ohio Route 125.The final video segment pursues “The Colonel,” the eccentric owner as he tours his facility. In addition to his Air Stream trailer (complete with a collection of 8-tracks, and the New Testament on cassette), the viewer is privileged to enter the Colonel’s “Tower” from which he guards his domain. “All’s quiet on the Western front .”


Slawomir Grunberg

Production Assistant:
Ben Goetzman

Doug Frankenberger & Shawn Norton

Screenings and Awards


• University of Colorado

• Cleveland Museum of Art

• Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati

• Ohio State University at Columbus


Received First Prizes at:

• Sinking Creek Film Celebration, 1989

• Athens International Film & Video Festival, 1989

• Slice of Life Film Festival, 1989

Selected to:

• Global Village Documentary Festival, 1989

• New York Expo of Short Film and Video, 1990

Broadcast History

Distributed on Cable stations in Ohio and Kentucky as part of
the Ohio Arts Council Media Showcase: “From Border to Border”

The series was also shown in China as part of the Ohio Arts Council Exhibition. The John Coyne segment received an Honorable Mention during the 38th International Film/Video Festival in Columbus 1984, and the same year the series won first place as best series on Warner Amex Cable. The series participated in conferences and seminars at James Madison University, Virginia (1984) University Film and Video Association in Los Angeles (1985) and the International Communication Conference in Philadelphia (1985).