Interview with director Sébastien Vanicek (MAYDAY)

Sébastien Vanicek’s short film MAYDAY played to rave reviews at the October 2016 Horror/Thriller Film Festival.

It was a pleasure to interview him about his film and what’s next:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sébastien Vanicek: I have a tremendous phobia of airplanes. So I started to write a movie about a guy who drinks too much to forget that he´s frightened. It started like that and I must confess that at the time I had no idea that the film would become the story of a psychopath / rapist / crazy bold guy who has sexual and degusting visions and will enjoy to see the plane crash!

I wrote the first version in two days, and we re-worked it with Mathieu Abes and Etienne Ement. From there, the film became an ode to the dark passenger we all have in ourselves, an ode to voyeurism, with an anti-hero who, instead of saving lives during a plane crash makes them… do things!!

That’s kind of motivating!

MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

SV: Etienne (the Producer) and I were working on a big sci-fi project for about a year and half when we decided that the film was too big for our small production company which only was an association of friends at this time. A team of about twenty members was already involved in the project and we had about 1500€ in our pockets.

So I took two days off and wrote the first version of Mayday.

When I gave it to Etienne, we thought we had to do it really fast to keep the energy we had.

Etienne succesfully found a plane two weeks after, and after the re-writing process we immediatly started to shoot. The whole process took about 2 months.

We had one year of post-production. All of our friends who worked on the film were volunteers and worked in their free time. That’s why it took us so long.

MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?

SV: It’s an ode to voyeurism.

MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

SV: I think it was to make the audience believe in our plane, and its crash. We had a small budget (1500€), and nothing more than a fake plane made and a few crazy people inside it. So we only had cameras and lights tricks, friends moving their bodies like possesed people, a bit of vfx and the sound to made you believe in this crash!

MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

SV: It was kind of strange! We’re so far away here in France, and we made this film basically with nothing more than a strong friendship and fun! We are so honored to see it travel like this. And when I saw people I never met talking about it, have reactions, and REALLY PRECISE comments (which were all true and very pertinent), I think the first emotion, which traveled inside me was pride!

For a young director, to see people react to yout little baby made with nothing is strange, exciting, and powerful at the same time!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film? 

SV: I think I already answered this question in the first one. My strong phobia of the plane, the energy surrounding us at this time to make a fun and powerful film. I think that deep inside of us, there was also the will of making people trust in us by making a believable film with nothing and have their confidence for the future, for bigger projets…

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

SV: I think it’s Darren Aronifsky’s Pi.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

SV: Yes, we are working on a movie about dogs fights. Stay tuned.



Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival


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