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An Interview with David Sumner, Director of ReSet

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2022

Films directed by David Sumner on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie ReSet - in a few words, what is it about?


The movie is about a young college student named Danielle who gets kidnapped by a disturbed man named Edgar. Edgar has serious issues with women rejecting him and has been driven murderous by his inability to connect with others. Danielle fortunately does have a magic artifact that allows her to ďresetĒ and try different ways of escaping Edgarís fortified cabin.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing ReSet?


The genesis of this movie came to me from watching other thrillers and thinking, would I survive, or would a person really survive that situation? Being in the military for so long I find myself constantly evaluating movies on a tactical level, like what are the advantages and disadvantages. Looking at this situation, a young woman held hostage by a serial killer in the middle of nowhere with no special training, sheís totally going to die. So how do I let her die and still somehow have a chance?


With a time loop being the centerpiece of ReSet, how easy or hard is it not to not lose the plot in this loop as a writer? And how much fun is it to write that many variations on the same scene?


So, I knew I was going to have very little money for this film so I wrote a script that could be shot in a few locations with few actors but would hopefully still be interesting. This plot allowed me to save effort on the location and still have variety in terms of events. In many ways, once I mapped out the logical progression of Danielleís character, the script became easier to write because I could start each scene at the important part. One of the hardest things about writing is beginning the scene and ending the scene. We walk into a room and talk and hang out for 20 minutes with the family member in the room and then leave in real life but in a movie the scene can only last a minute, and for me it can be so hard and time consuming to write the character walking in and leaving the room and make it feel organic. The time loop allowed me to skip to just the important part of the scene.


What can you tell us about ReSet's approach to the thriller genre?


I wanted to go for realism. This was the most realistic progression of events that I could think of. Hopefully people canít find too many plot holes in it.


With ReSet being limited to (mostly) just one location, what were some of your techniques to keep things visually interesting throughout?


I put a lot of thought into shot selection and how it would affect the story. I figured that I would have to use the budget through the most creative ways I could think of. I wanted to make different locations visually different but still maintain continuity. If I had a bigger budget I would have been able to have her destroying a lot more of the set.


A few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


Trying to squeeze every ounce of tension and drama from each second. Iím particularly fond of the close up shots when Danielle realizing how dangerous the situation is when she first wakes up in Edgarís house.


Do talk about ReSet's cast, and why exactly these people?


They were simply the best fit for the two main characters. I loved the height difference between her and him, it really helped stack the deck against her. The supporting actors were local. Ben Barlow and Alyssa Corella were so good and they worked really well with each other.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


I definitely learned a lot of lessons about how to manage a shoot. I feel embarrassed to admit this but one of the biggest mistakes I made was trying to house cast and crew in the shooting location. Fellow filmmakers, Donít Do That! Things were starting to get a bit stressed towards the end but overall everyone stayed motivated and brought it home. Also, the cinematographerís brother is a really good cook. He cooked some meals for the cast and crew.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of ReSet?


So far more people like the movie than not which makes it worth having been made. Hopefully the movie makes enough money to pay off the loans I took to make it and I can make my next movie.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I am currently working on the production packet for my next feature. Once I pay off ReSet I will start raising funding for the next project. Iím going to keep the plot tightly under wraps until itís time to advertise.


What got you into filmmaking to begin with?


I have these stories scratching around in my head and itís so important to me to be able to make them so that they donít drive me crazy. Iíve loved the way that movies have been able to make me feel and I hope to create those feelings in others.


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


This is my first job as a filmmaker. I graduated from the New York Film Academy in 2016. I wanted to get a job in the industry but unfortunately, realistically, unless you know somebody you basically must be able to work for free for a few years until you build enough contacts. I couldnít do that, so I came back into the Army and decided to just self-finance.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


I like the ability to manipulate reality, to create a whole universe from my mind. Iím very active and hands on. I hate writing things or sitting down. I love to act out scenes. Also, I slate all of my own shots.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


The ones that inspire me right now are the ones that can do the best with the lowest budget. Kevin Smith showed with Clerks that a great script can make a microbudget film good. John Carpenter showed with Halloween that meticulous direction can make a schlocky premise into a modern classic. Robert Rodriguez showed with El Mariachi that you can make a compelling action thriller with essentially film processing money if youíre a bit crazy.


Your favourite movies?


I want to say that seeing Independence Day as a kid in the theaters really solidified my desire to tell stories and feel the power of storytelling. I will strongly defend that movie till my last day.


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


Some movies are bad because they are really badly made on a technical level, some have ridiculous plot holes, some have characters who make baffling decisions, some are offensive or ugly. But some movies are terrible simply because there is nothing good about them. Mulan (2020) was the worst movie I sat through that year because there was not one minute where anything interesting happened, not one interesting character, not one quotable line of dialogue, and not one visually arresting moment. I am not kidding, I would rather watch Samurai Cop, The Room, Battlefield Earth, or Pluto Nash than rewatch the live action Mulan.


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Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Buy my movie and all of your wildest dreams will come true!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD