Mikel Guillen is a Toronto based post-avant-garde artist and filmmaker, writer, curator, photographer, designer, film translator and anarchist poet. He has screened and exhibit his work nationally (Canada) and internationally.
Mikel has a background in Art, Design and Photography (Istituto di Arte e Disegno, Florence, Italy).
He studied Film Theory courses at (Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico) and Digital Cinematography (G. Brown, Technical College, Toronto, Canada). Philosophy and Eastern Religions and Epistemology and Aesthetics courses (School of Philosophy, Universidad de Guadalajara and Oxford University). 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) among many others at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico.
He also translated “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett. Mise en scène by Susan Sontag in Sarajevo during the Siege of Sarajevo in 1994.
In the late 2000’s Mikel released a series of Anarchist Poems and performed at Ellinton’s Cafe Poetry in Toronto, Canada. An active member of Amnesty International.
In 2018, The Kinochrome Sessions was an extensive screening of post-avant-garde and experimental films curated by Mikel Guillen and Nick Kovats in Toronto, Canada.
In 2019, Mikel Guillen was named Curator and Board of Directors as part of the Pix Film Collective at Pix Film Art Gallery in Toronto, Canada.
Click on the title of the film in this section for inmediate access. Instructions: Please make sure that you watch in total darkness and if possible with headphones and volume a bit higher than usual.
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.
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 post-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 post-avant-garde/experimental event showcasing local and international works. Programmed and curated by Mikel Guillen and Nick Kovats.
August 11th 2018. Toronto, Canada.
Atonal (2020) A film about the mysterious relationship between Atonal music and male asexuality.
Current Screenings and News.
Atonal (2020) was selected as an official selection to the Forest City Film Festival in London, Ontario in October 2021. This will be the festival’s first year showcasing experimental works. There will be a Q&A Zoom before the screening.
Canadian filmmaker Mike Hoolboom’s interviewing Mikel Guillen on contemporary avant=garde cinema and Mikel’s take on Anonymity. Interview’s here.
“Nesia. A Holocaust Dance Fillm“ (2021)
An avant garde study and mise en scene. Choreography by Dave Wilson. Dancer: Lauren Runions has been completed and ready to do the film festival circuits.
Cinematography by Roger Singh and Music and Sound design by Nick Storring.
See trailer here.
“Very interesting movie. black on black. every frame is so elegant, its own picture within the picture. stunning lighting and cinematography. All of a sudden she arrives in a new body, that carries the other body within it. her movements perfectly filmed. with the long coda or closing movement, the enveloping darkness, the gathering shroud of an experience folded over itself, it's hard to feel that on a small screen, it just looks very dark and still. you know? but i loved the ambitiousness of the movie, the willingness to take something on. and to make this unusual juxtaposition, a surreal displacement” Mike Hoolboom, Canadian experimental filmmaker on Nesia.
“Beautifully crafted black and white film. The circle of memories and life is interpreted in a very precise way”.
Madi Piller, experimental filmmaker on Nesia.
Mikel Guillen gave a Masterclass on experimental practice in relation to Ethnographic Cinema to Students and Professors of Universidad de Guadalara, Mexico.
Zoom moderated by professor Claudia Berdejo on February 12th, 2021.
Obscuritads in Barcelona.
Mikel Guillen and Curator Miquel Escudero Diéguez presented Obscuritads screening at Centro de Cultura Contemporánea (CCCB) Museum. It was an exhibition on September 30th, 2020.
The Collective will screen at CODEC/Festival internacional de Cine Experimental y Video in Mexico City, on November 25th to 30th, 2019.
Intermission (2017) will be screening as part of the experimental program Hambre: Hambre l espacio cine experimental: Centelleos entre sombras.
Curated by Sebastian Wiedemann and presented at the 4th edition of Cámara Lúcida international’ Film Festival in Cuenca, Ecuador from the 14th to 22nd of November, 2019.
Atonal will be screening in Brazil.
This year the screenings were scheduled for two days/sessions of about one hour each at Pinacoteca Ruben Berta Museum in Porto Alegre in november 7 and 8th at 7 pm. At O Sítio Art and Technology in Florianópolis we're going to have a 2 hours single session at the november 26th, 2019.
The Collective will have a special two day screening as part of a programme called “Mirada Efímera” Organized by Jorge Cappelloni and curated by Miquel Escudero Diéguez. The event will take place at the Contemporary Art Museum MAR in Mar del Plata, Argentina on October 24 and 25, 2019.
An international post-avant-garde cinema collective. Mikel Guillen, Scott Barley .
The post-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. .
The small screening was held at Pix Film Gallery on February 16th, 2019. We screen Los (De)Pendientes by Sebastian Wiedemann. Feature film Sleep Has her House by Scott Barley. Mikel Guillen presented Atonal, its world première.
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.
Kampus Hybernska Gallery hosted a screening of Mikel, Scott and Sebastian’s work. Curated by Milan Kroulic, June 5th, 2019. Prague, Czech Republic.
The Sadness of the Trees will have a screening as part ofNoctilucaScreen Showcase at Cámara Lúcida - Encuentros Cinematográficos in Cuenca, Ecuador. August 3rd, 2018.
Mütter 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.
Atonal (2019) The film poem is about the mysterious relationship between Atonal music and Male Asexuality. The film has been completed and will première at Pix Film Gallery on February 16th, 2019.
The Obscuritads Collective will have its Canadian Première at Pix Film Gallery on February 16th, 2019.
Artists Madi Piller and MiKel Guillen will introduced the films. Los (De) Pendientes by Sebastian Wiedemann, Atonal by Mikel Guillen and Sleep Has her House by Scott Barley.
Mikel Guillen’s films have screened at Festivals, Galleries and Museums in Canada and Internationally.
(Name to be annouced) (2021)
A film about a woman and her obsessions with the past. A collaborative film piece with British artis/filmmaker Scott Barley. Inspired by Lawrence Durrell’s Justine. Locations in Northern Scotland.
“Menstruae”. An post-avant-garde collaborative film with Scott Barley.
A Francis Bacon inspired film collaboration with Scott Barley.
“Untitled Project”. A Collaboration with Avant-garde Choreographer Dave Wilson.
Feature Film “Mahdi”.
Production: Pickpocket Studio Films.
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.
“Strange and Mysterious...such a beautiful ending” Mike Hoolboom on Atonal.
“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, commissions, please send email through this site to 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)