Paul Warziniek is living a happy life. One day, he receives a parking ticket. The only problem is : he doesn’t own a car.

In the future, government administrative bureau’s will be… a lot like today’s. Le Fichier Warziniek (The Warziniek’s File) shows us just that in this crazy sci-fi comedy short where we fall through an endless government building spiral. French director Pierre J. Secondi creates a defining environment around our protagonist Paul Warziniek – citizen 4.815.162.342 – who is living a happy life, until he one day receives a parking ticket. The only problem is : he doesn’t own a car. Paul then decides to go to the Prefecture to settle what seems to be a simple administrative formality. We spoke with Pierre who told us a little more about Paul and the film:

Can you tell us what inspired you to bring this story to life?

The idea was born in 2013: one day I was at a doctor’s appointment and when he scanned my Social Security card, he told me that it was not working anymore. So I got in touch with the administrative service and there I was told that I did not appear anywhere in their database: I did not exist. After several absurd conversations, I finally got my new Social Security card. I told my friend and co-writer Maxime J. Richard about this story and we started to push the cursor to create an even more absurd situation. That is how “The Warziniek’s File” was born.

How did you go about casting Mr. Warziniek? Who were you looking for in a character?

I wrote the film with Julien Pestel in mind. He is an excellent actor and above all a very close, long-time friend. It was great to work with Julien, he’s a very involved actor, he was constantly thinking about his character. He was always suggesting things to build up the character of Paul. We’ve made a lot of short films together, very often comedies, but this time around I wanted something different. While there is humor in this movie, there is something darker in the character of Paul and Julien captured it perfectly in his performance.

The visual style, specifically the location/decor was quite particular. What was the thought process and inspiration around it all?

The big challenge of this film was to find the right location for the government building, which is the antagonist in this story. I wanted it to represent a welcoming place at first glance but to become more and more ominous and oppressive like a trap closing in on Paul Warziniek. It had to become a real labyrinth as Paul advanced through his journey. During preparations, I worked a lot on the colors and therefore when I found this location – which is a building of the University of Jussieu in Paris – with all these colors, I said to myself that I had found my government building.

What has this film taught you about filmmaking?

When I first started making movies, I was really focused on telling stories in a fluid way, not particularly caring about what the camera was saying. Over time, I learned to place my camera, to choose framing and movements according to the feelings of my characters and the story I wanted to tell. With “The Warziniek’s File” I really went all the way in this direction and I am very happy with the result because I think that each shot, each choice of staging tells something about the characters and especially about Paul. I also worked a lot on the colors and their meaning . The colors of the costumes, sets and interfaces are precisely chosen to characterize the characters and their different personalities. It is a job that I did with Barbara Abecassis who took care of the Artistic Direction with me, but also with Delphie Lecquoy who took care of the Production Design. All these colors have been sublimed by the work of the Director of Photography, Romain Fisson-Edeline and the Colorist, Arnaud Laurent.

Do you have any tips or advice to offer fellow filmmakers?

As a screenwriter I think that the best advice is not to look for the greatest idea all the time. It’s not about the idea, it’s about how you tell the story. As a filmmaker, the only advice I can give is to believe in your projects and always try to be better at what you do.

What do you hope people will take away from ‘The Warziniek’s File’?

“The Warziniek File” is about the excesses of society: the dictatorship of social medias, excessive dematerialization or the lack of interest of our governments for the people. It’s a sci-fi movie but I got a lot of comments saying it was actually very close to reality. If the film can make a few people think that we are going straight into the wall and that we need a profound change in our behavior towards others, then I would be the happiest.

What are your favorite short films?

There are a lot of really great short films but I recently discovered the work of Jim Cummings. He’s a great screenwriter, director and actor. I loved “The Robbery” and “Thunder Road“, these short films are really well-written and well-directed.

Which films you can say directly inspired this film?

One of the big inspirations was Spike Jonze’s “Her”. I think it’s pretty obvious when you look at Paul Warziniek. I was also inspired by Vince Gilligan’s “Breaking Bad” and the last shot of the film is a direct reference to the last shot of “Breaking Bad”. And of course, I was inspired by the work of Wes Anderson for the colors and also for the original score.