Meeting with the director and screenwriter Sébastien Vanicek, who, after several short films, is releasing Vermines , his first feature, the story of a building infested with venomous spiders.
Where did the idea for “Vermin” come from?
I wanted to make a fun film, pure entertainment. A roller coaster where people would get their money’s worth. But I also wanted to make a film that talks about me. From the frustration of a young suburbanite who wants to make films, who has encountered many closed doors, whether for public or private funding. Talking about a sort of facial crime that accompanied me. As if, because of my origins, I could not be entrusted with such a project. And again, I’m lucky, I’m white and straight, I have friends for whom it’s much harder than that. I wanted to make a film that talked about that without sinking into misery.
What was your training?
I’ve made a bunch of short films. Very early on, I discovered that you could do things with a camcorder, a little sound, a little image, to provide sensations and emotions to people. I am self-taught. I was advised to go to film school. I signed up and left very quickly. I was then advised to go to film school. I had to borrow money and, again, I got bored and didn’t learn anything. I continued to make short films with a group of friends while working in a supermarket. Movies have become more and more important. At the end of confinement, I had the choice between returning to work in the food industry or taking advantage of a year of intermittency offered by the State to return to my short films.
How was the project set up?
I had the chance to meet both the producer Harry Tordjman, who had spotted one of my shorts at a festival, and the Netflix platform. The first understood what I wanted to do artistically. He went to Netflix thinking it might make a good platform movie. After reading the first draft of the script, they said they would like Vermin to be released theatrically. It was a miracle.
Did your short films already demonstrate a taste for fantasy or horror?
Not really. I’m not very influenced by horror cinema. I like working with image and sound. The notion of genre cinema is biased. I could film a couple arguing in a bathroom and people would say it’s genre cinema because I’m going to do it in a certain way. I’ve never made a horror short film, for example, and I consider Vermin to be a survival film rather than a horror film. I wanted to make people laugh, move people, shiver.
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