Although he grew up on B movies at the local cinema, he first got his start in the press. Originally working as a journalist and critic in obscure local and national media to make ends meet, he eventually decided to hand in his press card after a disappointing "television" experience. After one final online journalistic adventure helping create Rue89Lyon, he eventually decided to set up La Brèche studio with friends, devoting himself to his first passion and perhaps, one day, being able to buy a people carrier. Today, he is a scriptwriter and director and has worked on the scripts for France TV's animated series Les Anooki. A director of music videos and ads, he is also the mind behind Pornographisme, a book that tells the story of X-rated cinema of the 70's and 80's through typographic posters from that period.
Mickaël, would you share with us how La Brèche studio was set up? What were you in need of for that decision making?
I created La Brèche Studio with friends 11 years ago. We mainly make commercials and educational films. David Montcher, the director of photography with whom I often work, and Sarah Tahraoui, another director, spoke together to Maël André, the producer of the production company 7ème Etage, about my script. He was looking for an interesting project after the Covid. He knew my work because he also manages a film and video equipment rental company in Lyon. I was a little afraid to start this adventure, but one day he said to me: “By the way, you are filming in May”. We were in Mars. I no longer had a choice, I had to make my first short film. Then, our two companies joined forces to have the necessary funds to self-produce Delivery to Hell, because it was too difficult to find money for a comedy that spoke of religion. And I am very grateful to Maël for taking this risk.
How did you come up with this laughingly approach to a subject matter most people try to avoid talking about?
I had the idea for this film at a very difficult time in my life. I grew up between two religions. So I chose neither. When my father died, I did not know the ritual of his religion. And someone told me that if I want my dad go faster to the paradise, I had to pray once a day for a year. I couldn’t help him much on that one. I don’t speak Hebrew… So, I wondered if he had chosen the right religion. Imagine, you’re catholic. You die. Then, someone at the door of the heaven tells you have make de wrong choice. “Sorry, you don’t have the good religion, you had to choose Islam, too bad. So, please, now, you can go to hell…” I prefer my paradise. You can choose before, where you go after. But, ultimately, Delivery To Hell is not a story about religion. This is a story of a generation. The FOMO generation. FOMO like fear of missing out. I’m totally a FOMO boy. I need ten hours to choose a restaurant on google. I want the best burger in the town. My character never can make a choice. He’s unable to make a choice. He has no real job, no official girlfriend, no kid… But, when he dies he has to make the more important choice: choosing where he’s going after his life.
You put up a great, hilarious acting ensemble. Would you share with us any funny experiences along the casting process?
I was very lucky, I didn’t need to do any casting. When I watched Mehdi Rahim-Silvioli in a friend’s short film, I knew he was the perfect actor for the role. When he read the script, he immediately accepted. He also helped me a lot during the preparation when I had doubts about my dialogues. I love endless sentences. I was afraid it would be difficult to play. Mehdi didn’t want me to cut anything. For the actress, I had the chance to meet Barbara Carlotti on the set of a video clip. She is a French singer-songwriter with incredible charisma. I’m fond of what she gives off. For me, my character and Barbara are the same person. With an incredible English humor. However, she has a much cooler haircut in real life. So I took advantage of the meeting to have her read the script, which she found “amusing”. A mutual friend managed to convince her! Afterwards, during filming, it was quite complicated to have great moments of laughter. The actors don’t really play together in the scenes. They look at the camera, not their acting partner. It’s a difficult exercise for the actor who has no one to send back an emotion. Afterwards, all the extras are short film technicians or friends. Jews are not Jews, under the outfits of Muslims, there are even men to make up the numbers.