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An Interview with János Váradi, Director of Restart

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2019

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Your upcoming movie Restart - in a few words, what's it going to be about?


Restart (a.k.a Singularity) is a sci-fi thriller, with only one on-screen actor placed in a hacked car. It’s a very intense claustrophobic story with interesting questions like how much can we trust today’s technology and are we over-reliant on it? Can your car’s software be hacked trapping you inside? Can your life be threatened by your own car?


With Restart dealing with the downsides of today's technological progress, what are your personal thoughts about the subject?


I think at the end of the day one has to accept responsibility for what they create, and unfortunately being responsible is not fashionable with humans. When we realize what’s happening it is usually too late, look at climate change for example, we’ve sent people to the Moon decades ago but greed and power still trumps common sense and the collective good.


(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Restart?


Restart follows in the footsteps of such masterpieces as Buried (with Ryan Reynolds) or Gravity (with Sandra Bullock). Also, being budget conscious, we tried to use Robert Rodriguez’s method in using what we have instead of trying to fake what we don’t. 


With Restart being a science fiction movie, is that at all a genre dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?


Me and my contributing writer (Sandor Szalma) have tried our writing abilities in genres like comedy, biopic, documentaries as well as sci-fi. We have made our debut within the sci-fi genre as co-authors of the movie Cycle (directed by Zoltan Sostai, Sci-Fi London Film Festival, 2012) -

I personally couldn’t pick just one genre that I like, a memorable performance or a gripping story is more important to me than the genre of a film.


As I understand it, large parts of Restart will be set in a car - so with these limited locations, how do you plan to keep things interesting on a visual level?


Strictly speaking there will be more than one location but for sure the movie will rely heavily on the actor’s performance and her delivery of the character’s different emotional states. As for the visuals, it’s gonna be set mainly inside a garage where there won’t be too much light for too long and fortunately you can have lots of things hidden in the darkness only to reveal them at opportune moments.


What can you tell us about the intended overall look and feel of your movie?


Together with the director of cinematography, Gregory Kozma, we’ve decided that in order to visually convey the feeling of entrapment we plan to use tight framing and flat space in the garage and car with a limited cool color palette and low key lighting. The few outside scenes would be rendered in a deep space composition with more colours but of course as the story progresses - without spoiling anything - the visuals would follow the mood in both exterior and interior scenes.


Anything you can tell us about your projected key cast yet, and why exactly these people?


We have a few candidates lined up for the main (on-screen) role and then we have a few  voice-over actors as well. The main character will be very important, for obvious reasons, and we’re in talks with a Hungarian actress who has won several awards and is internationally recognized (eg. ‘Shooting Star’ at Berlin International Film Festival) to play Lara, the movie’s heroine.


As far as I know, you're currently running/are about to run a fundraiser for Restart - so do talk about your campaign!


Restart’s IndieGoGo campaign will launch in February 2019 but we’ve already started a Facebook page where we have 300+ followers - This number is set to increase after the campaign goes live and we ramp up international promotion by ads and being even more proactive in spreading the word.

We also have promotional videos and photos, eg. movie poster mock ups, up on our Facebook page and we have a home made teaser trailer as well at Of course it’s not representative of how Restart is gonna look like, far from it, but it highlights our enthusiasm for the project.


Once the budget's in place, what's the schedule, and any idea when and where the film might be released, however tentatively?


We hope to be shooting during the summer but of course this depends on the crew’s (especially the actor’s) availability. We have all the cast and crew and location ready to go so once we work out the schedule we intend to shoot in the summer and then post production in autumn, so Restart could be released at the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020.


Any future projects beyond Restart?


There is a documentary in development about boxing champions since we also work on scripts that have historical themes. Also, The Interpreter has just entered post-production phase, this is a short film shot in Ireland about the investigation of a mysterious murder written by me and my co-author and directed by Gregory Kozma, our would-be DOP -


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I studied screenwriting at Analog Artist Film Academy (Budapest) and after that I’ve been self-taught in genre-filmwriting. My colleagues Greg and Sandor have also graduated from film schools.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Restart?


I've written several feature film scripts with my co-author, some of these ended up with certain producers and never heard from them again. During my university years I've also made short films with Greg Kozma behind the camera who currently lives in Ireland and studies and works there as editor and camerman. He was the DP and editor on Connection, a short film that won Best Short at Naas Film Festival, 2013. The three of us believe that by now we've accumulated enough experience that we could start making our first feature length film, the incredibly exciting Restart.


Do talk about the Hungarian filmscene a bit, and how easy or difficult is it to launch a project like yours?


For independent filmmakers there are very few opportunities to make a decent feature film. I say decent because of course it all depends on the standard you aim for. We all know about the ‘project management triangle’, so we have to be able to use ‘time’ as efficiently as possible since we won’t have a big budget yet we have a high standard.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


James Cameron, M. Night Shyamalan, Christopher Nolan and Robert Rodriguez.


Your favourite movies?


Inception, Avatar, Signs.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


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There are none really, every movie has its audience, if I don’t like a movie I just don’t watch it. I don’t take offense.


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Teaser trailer:





Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


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A Killer Conversation

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directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
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out now on DVD