Travis Greene, Ronnie Prouty, Daryl Perle (Additional Material)
Ronnie Prouty, Ellana Barksdale, John Kirk, Alonzo "Chico" Medina, Kaiden Viantano, Geoffrey Weil, Abigail Tallman, Todd Purvis
Reminiscent of Daniel Reininghaus's excellent short Eyes Beyond, Guillermo is already proving to be a hot item on the indie film festival circuit since its debut at the Helsinki International Film Festival in September 10, 2010 quickly followed by appearances at New York Film Festival, Film Fest Hamburg, Tokyo International Film Festival and festivals in London, Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Florida, Hawaii and Stockholm, Sweden.
The 30-minute short is the disturbingly entertaining tale of Billy Gale, Sr. (Ronnie Prouty), a lovable yet misunderstood sociopath who is off his medication and dancing that fine line between reality and fantasy. When he meets an enigmatic stranger from another world, Billy gets a taste of the life he was truly meant for - but can he actually get there before it's too late?
"Disturbing" and "entertaining" aren't words that are frequently used together, except for those whose tastes lean towards the more extremes of the horror scene. Yet, director Travis Greene somehow manages to balance the film's potentially devastating premise with enough insight and dark humor that Guillermo becomes a film that is both frightening and endearing.
Much of the credit for the success of Guillermo goes to lead Ronnie Prouty, also the film's co-writer along with Greene and Daryl Perle, whose performance as Billy Gale, Sr. is never less than mesmerizing even when he flirts with going completely and wondrously over-the-top. Prouty's Billy paints a practically perfect picture of the sympathetic sociopath, a man who walks close enough to the edge of sanity that you can't help but constantly feel like he's going to fall off - yet, he clings ever so tightly to reality even when everything he's experiencing is a seemingly other world.
While a couple of the film's performances go a tad too over the top at times, Greene does a nice job of creating a world that is simultaneously ordinary yet freakishly distorted. Without ever really going there directly, Greene and his co-writers create an uncomfortably insightful portrait of a world too often experienced these days in which an office setting becomes target practice for the disturbed mind left alone for far too long.
Kudos to D.P. Jennifer Ann Henry, whose camera work blends both the humanity of the characters and the lunacy of the world in which they live. Music by Mariachi El Bronx adds a quirky, off-kilter feeling to the goings on that brings to mind David Lynch from his Twin Peaks period.
Guillermo last played in Los Angeles on December 18th, but continues on the film festival circuit. Watch for this dark yet unusually entertaining short at a festival near you in 2011.