Mikel Guillen is a Toronto based avant-garde artist and Filmmaker, Photographer, Designer, Film Translator and Anarchist Poet.
Mikel has a background in Art, Design and Photography (Istituto di Arte e Disegno, Florence, Italy).
Lanspiac, school of Art and Design (Mexico).
He studied Film Theory courses at (Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada) and Digital Cinematography (G. Brown, Technical College, Toronto, Canada). Philosophy and Eastern Religions courses (Ryerson and School of Philosophy). Mikel grew up in many countries and has a displaced past that has helped shape his Art Practice and is fluent in 4 languages.
Aesthetics and approach to filmmaking are based and inspired by subjects like: Anonymity, Sadness, Humanity, Melancholia, Poetry, Philosophy, Isolation, Nostalgia, Displacement, Identity, Spirituality, Minimalism and Mysticism.
Classic influences: Jean Epstein, Robert Bresson, Jean Vigo, Marcel L’Herbier and more.
Modern Influences: Phil Solomon, Jean Marie Straub & Daniele Huillet, Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, Chris Marker, Tsai Ming Liang, Béla Tarr, Yasujiro Ozu, Luis Buñuel, Michael Haneke and more.
So drawn into them and in terms of framing, subjects and mise en scène.
For our connection through the night and its darkness and mystery. I consider Phil Solomon my mentor.
During the 1990’s, He professionally translated the works of Pier Paolo Pasolini (Saló, 120 days of Sodome), Federico Fellini (Roma, La Voce della Luna) Roberto Rossellini (Flowers of Saint Francis), Andrei Tarkovsky (The Mirror), Robert Bresson (Mouchette), Luchino Visconti (Ludwig) and many more at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico.
In the late 2000’s Mikel released a series of Anarchist Poems and performed at Ellinton’s Cafe Poetry. An active member of Amnesty International.
Click on the title of the film in this section for inmediate access.
Remodernist Film, Ascending (Co-created with Nick Block, 2012). “Soutenir F”(2013 Omnibus film). “Le Savoir-Faire de Nobody” (2014) The Remodernist film “The Natural State”. (2014).
“I Deserve” (Collaboration with Alberto Perez Galindo, 2015) The Sadness of the Trees (Collaboration with Scott Barley) Mütter (2015) Intermission (2017).
All films have done multiple screenings at many international film festivals, galleries, museum’s cinematheques, walls and garages.
“The Pirate Tapes”. (Assoc.Producer 2011). A feature Documentary film that describes the Somali pirate trade, acquired by HBO International.
In 2012, Mikel and Nick Block wrote and created “Ascending”. (18 mins). A film inspired by The Remodernist Film Manifesto.
Late fall 2012, Mikel joined a project called “Impression X” an Omnibus film. A Fauvist Celebration of the long take. 25 filmmakers from around the globe collaborated in this project produced by Roy Rezaali in Holland.
Early 2014, The Natural State (15 mins) was released. A Remodernist film. Inspired by the nihilistic writings of U.G. Krishnamurti, It explores our unstoppable search for happiness, spirituality and memories.
The Natural State is now part of hambre | espacio cine experimental. Hambre is a observatory and laboratory dedicated to the research, dialogue and production of critic and sensitive thought by contagion and connection to experimental cinemas. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In 2015, The Sadness of the Trees (12 mins). A film by Mikel Guillen and Scott Barley. Two separate, yet poetically connected films that act as a threnody on nature; with the trees as silent observers to Man’s insidious desolation. Mikel Guillen’s film is dedicated to the artist, Hiroshi Sugimoto. Scott Barley’s film is dedicated to the artist, Vija Celmins.
Animal-Nature-Human continum- The Sadness of the Trees (Mikel Guillen, Scott Barley) screening with the Turin Horse (Béla Tarr) Liberty Cinema, Mumbai, India, July 2016.
Mid 2015, Mütter (9 mins) was released.
Mütter “It’s very subtle – it all depends on whether one picks up on the slight variations and moments of collision and repetition. Surprising and intriguing, I’m still carrying it around in my head, so that’s a good sign that you got in there. You and Scott are very brave, indirect filmmakers that are really relying on an audience to swing with you through the dark ellipsis of an implied narrative, so I do feel kindred in my work from that Pov – and the mystery of the dark the night”. Phil Solomon, American avant-garde artist and filmmaker.
Mütter was screened at University of Boulder, Colorado. The Film was presented by Phil Solomon to his students in March 2016.
Mütter had a screening alongside Phil Solomon’s work and Scott Barley’s work at MAR Contemporary Art Museum in Mar Del Plata, Argentina for February 2016. It’s also an official selection for The Toronto International Short Film Festival for March 16th, 2016.
Mütter was selected at New Works Pleasure Dome and was screened at The Gladstone Hotel on November 3rd 2016.
An avant-garde piece inspired on one of Shakespeare most dramatic characters, Volumnia. Starring British Performance Artist Viv Moore. It will be screened as part of the 400th anniversary of W. Shakespeare, Radical Shakespeare. This is an Art Secession Cabal in New Haven, CT.
It’s a film about suspension. Its inspired by the disappearance of Mariam Makhniashvili who disappeared in Toronto but was found dead two years later.
It’s about remembrance, the power of a suspended thought. When a loved one disappears or someone vanishes for no reason, no trace, no answer, no closure, our thoughts enter a very specific state of mind. A state that is not clearly defined. The weight, our imagination, our love, our hope become a suspension, a powerful and emotional state. This suspension becomes an Intermission.
The Kinochrome Sessions. A look at Contemporary Practice No 1. An avant-garde/experimental event showcasing local and international works. Programmed and curated by Mikel Guillen and Nick Kovats.
First event : August 11th 2018. Toronto, Canada.
An international avant-garde cinema collective. Mikel Guillen, Scott Barley and Sebastian Wiedemann.
The avant-garde cinema collective will be launched in Paris, France. Juy 27th & 28th at La Générale Art Gallery in Paris., France. With a Retrospective of the three Artists/Filmmakers with Screenings and conferences organized and curated by Miquel Esqudero Diéguez and presented by avant-garde film critic Boris Monneau. There will be selected screenings, one event and Installations in 2018 and into becoming a travelling exhibit.
We have three international screeings confirmed for Obscuritads. Barcelona, Toronto and Prague. Details soon.
Trandzit Display Gallery A retrospective screening of Mikel Guillen’s work and Scott Barley’s work on September 29th, 7 pm. Curated by Milan Kroulic. Prague, Czech Republic.
Pix Film Gallery Screening of Mikel Guillen’s work. Entitled Les Obscurités Anonymes. Installation works and Moving images on October 6th, 7 pm 2017. Toronto, Canada.
The Sadness of the Trees will have a screening as part ofNoctilucaScreen Showcase at Cámara Lúcida - Encuentros Cinematográficos in Cuenca, Ecuador. August 3rd, 2018.
Mûtter will have a screening as part of The Nonconformist Alternative Cinema screenings In collaboration with Cultural Centre G8 and Eurocinema in Sofia Bulgaria. Sunday July 29th, 2018.
Many thanks to curator Dimitar Kutmanov.
Intermission screened at What a place to be alive: Images from Toronto presented by Collective Misnomer, Denver, Colorado. November 12th, 2017.
Intermission will screen at Marfici International Film festival on August 4th to the 11th at the MDQ Art Centre in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
Intermission will screen at aluCine Latin Film+Media Arts Festival, October 3 to 6th, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.
“Untitled Project”. A Collaboration with Contemporary Composer Nick Storring.
“Untitled Project”. A Collaboration with Avant-garde Choreographer Dave Wilson.
“Menstruae”. An avant-garde collaborative film with Scott Barley.
“Atonal” (2018) a mediatitive study on male asexuality. To be film in June 2018. With Mexican actor Eliud Cruz. Atonal sound created by Ted Phillips.
“Holocaust Dance Fillm“ (2018-19)
An avant garde study and mise en scene. Choreography by Dave Wilson. Dancer: Lauren Runions.
Cinematography by Roger Singh and Music and Sound design by Nick Storring.
See trailer here.
Feature Film “Mahdi”.
A Social Realist film about Immigration, Paternal love and Female mutilation.
The moral tale of Mahdi is that at the end of everything, the most important thing is paternal love and how this spirituality makes us all connected through blood and sacrifices. Yes, we can struggle and learn through our own mistakes but there will always be a spiritual path into the truth. See trailer here.
Awards and comments.
My film Intermission was selected as part of the list of his best films in 2018. By American Novelist, poet, critic, curator, performance artist and filmmaker (Permanent Green), Dennis Cooper.Its an honour for me to be selected among many artists and intellectuals. It is also a privilege to be side by side with my friend and collaborator Scott Barleyand his Sleep has her House feature and also big names like Jean Luc Godard and Abbas Kiarostami among others. As well as one of my heroes and inspirations of my work Jean Marie Straüb. Here it is the link: Dennis Coopers Blog.
“Mikel Guillen has been an instrumental contributor to the development of the Remodernist approach to filmmaking, both through the creation of his own works such as “Ascending” and “The Natural State” and the French translation of the Remodernist Manifesto.
Jesse Richards. Painter, Filmmaker and Photographer and founder and publisher of the Remodernist Film Manifesto.
Mütter was named best avant-garde short film in 2016 by Italian magazine Visione Sospessa.
“Beautiful and Haunting”. Phil Solomon on The Sadness of the Trees.
“Very strong frames, beautifully put, the stately rhythm, the necessity of watching, the beautiful black and white. yes. it feels like cinema, sequences, powerful shots” Mike Hoolboom, Canadian avant garde artist and filmmaker on Intermission.
Les films de Mikel Guillen, situés dans le champ du cinéma d'avant-garde, se placent au seuil du dramatique. Ils sont portés par une tension interne aux faits, dans une dialectique d'occultation/incarnation entre image et récit.
Deux de ses films les plus intéressants se basent sur des histoires existantes, faits divers ou œuvres littéraires, qu'ils adaptent sur un mode sensoriel. Dans Volumnia, il isole de la tragédie shakespearienne la fureur, par l'impressionnante - et pour l'essentiel du film muette - présence physique de l'actrice qui donne corps à la mère du général romain. Dans Intermission, c'est l'impression d'une disparition qui est rendue par des figures plus fuyantes et plus hétérogènes, évocation mélancolique d'une jeune femme perdue. Boris Monneau. Avant garde film critic and theorist.
“Extremely interesting film project” Carlos Reygadas on feature film Mahdi.
“The austerity is extremely elegant and the cinematography astonishing, many of the images were reduced to a stern, minimal architecture”.
Bruce Elder, Canadian avant-garde Filmmaker on Ascending.
“What a delicious side-effect of such a devastating time, a soul-raising, heart-rising vignette, a woman and a man, a future, a mystery, a magnificent unfolding about to descend upon the viewer. Ascension”. Judith Fitzgerald on Ascending, avant-garde Canadian Poet and Journalist.
“This enfant terrible created a poetry of a woman lost in a night dream where real and surreal meet with a promisory new dawn and a young life looking forward to it“. Svetlana Plotnikova Ukranian artist and free thinker on Mütter.
For private and public exhibitions or international acquisitions, please send email request to contact curator-legal representative Miquel Escudero Diéguez. Paris, France.
Available for commissions.
( Music Videos, Films, Documentaries, Art/Photo Projects, Fashion Films, Interactives and Commercials)