By Becky Benoit
Teenagers love horror movies. But when a young Tito Guillen watched Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, he saw a lot more than just a pulse-pounding horror flick or a chance to cuddle up closer to a date – he saw an art form that has inspired him for over a decade, and has seen his films screened as far away as New York, Florida and Las Vegas as one of our region’s most promising independent filmmakers.
“It showed me how fun filmmaking could be, and also became a unifying string between myself and otherfilmmakers, both in Fort McMurray and Alberta,” Guillen says of how the movie sparked his passion to createhis own films. “Growing up, my friends and I would watch it and other horror movies and talk for hours of our favourite movies in the genre.” Guillen’s filmmaking career began with a high school short called “Down WillCome Baby.” “It was probably the most I’ve laughed while making a movie, but it also inspired me to keep making movies and to make them better, to make the stuff I shoot just like the stuff I dream about,” Guillen says of the process, which he counts as his favourite filmmaking experience.
Guillen is also the co-creator of the popular YMM Podcast, along with partner Toddske. He says the duo is a perfect blend of his own logical, linear nature and Toddske’s zany, social personality.
“Many people who know me are aware that I can be overly meticulous at times to the point of being overly cautious and playing things safe. Todd is the other side of that coin. He’s ambitious, very much a ‘why not?’ kind of person,” Guillen says. Guillen adds that one of the best outcomes of the podcast’s success has been the support it has garnered for arts and culture in Fort McMurray. “The podcast has helped in promoting and nurturing local artists and causes without restrictions on content or ‘airtime,’” Guillen explains.
“The arts are very much the soul of a community,” he adds. “It’s especially important to Fort McMurray as our identity to the rest of Canada is often defined by those who live outside the community. We have a voice, and our artists give strength to that voice.”