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An Interview with Derek Braasch, Director of Doomsday Stories' segment The Broken Promise

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2023

Films directed by Derek Braasch on (re)Search my Trash


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Your segment A Broken Promise in the anthology Doomsday Stories - in a few words, what is it about?


A Broken Promise follows the journey of Rick and his dog Lucy as they travel by foot amidst the "Meanies" virus which has taken over the world. Rick has to make the biggest choice of his life, but will he have it in him to do what he thinks is right?


With A Broken Promise being of the post doomsday variety, is that a genre at all dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?


I do enjoy the post-apocalyptic genre, but if I had to rate my favorite genres it would be:

1. Action/martial arts

2. Horror

3. Comedy


(Other) sources of inspiration for A Broken Promise?


A Broken Promise was inspired by a previous drama we wrote and directed, Guardian Angel. We wanted to make another pull-at-the-heartstrings type of movie. The last one we made went over really well so we are hoping this one will as well.


You have written A Broken Promise together with your frequent collaborator Nina Trader - so what can you tell us about her, and what was your collaboration like?


A Broken Promise was written with my amazing and beautiful wife, Nina Trader. She is a great partner and is the brains of the operation. We collaborated on our first script back in 2017 on a film called Guardian Angel, which she stars in and I directed. Nina and I also collaborated on writing the film Slay Ride, which is part of the Horrortales 666 Part 2, Death is the Only Option, which is part of the Horrortales 666 part 3, and Holiday Party Massacre, which is the working title for the next script we are currently writing for Phil Herman [Phil Herman interview - click here] and Joel D. Wynkoop's [Joel D. Wynkoop interview - click here] I Slay on Christmas anthology.


To what extent could you actually identify with A Broken Promise's protagonist Rick and the pain he's going through?


I feel I can relate to Rick with his sense of loneliness, depression, and isolation due to some real life tragic moments that Nina and I have experienced in the past year.


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


My approach as a director is to first ensure my wife and I were on the same page with the final draft before anyone steps in front of the lens. I discussed with our lead actor, Justin Bower, what the intention of the film was. We wanted to show the struggle Rick had with his decision, and pull at the heartstrings of our viewers. I always give my actors creative freedom to stretch their acting muscles with improvisation or any feedback they want to let me know.


What can you tell us about A Broken Promise's cast, and why exactly these people?


We used many Cheevies regulars who are passionate and dedicated. Besides my wife, we had our dog Lucy as one of the main stars next to Justin Bower, Joe Debartolo, Lillian Lamour, Jimmy Shay, Darin Bower, Joe Rosing, Courtney Williams, Bryce Bower and my parents Julie and Ed Braasch.


Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


We always try to keep a fun and light-hearted atmosphere on set. We get our work done but I want to make sure the cast and crew are learning and enjoying themselves.


As mentioned, A Broken Promise is part of the anthology Doomsday Stories - so how did you get involved with that project in the first place? And was A Broken Promise shot specifically for the anthology or was it a pre-existing short?


I got involved in this project because I had already been working with Phil Herman [Phil Herman interview - click here] and Joel D. Wynkoop [Joel D. Wynkoop interview - click here] for Horrortales 666 Part 2 & 3. A Broken Promise was written and shot specifically for Doomsday Stories.


Do talk about Doomsday Stories' creator/showrunner Phil Herman, and what was your collaboration like?


Phil Herman has been an absolute pleasure to collaborate with. He is a great filmmaker and a great friend and human being. He is so fun to work with and he is also very supportive of my other projects outside our collaborative circle.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Cheevies Film Productions, which is a company that I started in 2002 and now run with my wife, has many projects on the horizon. My third feature, Torture the Flesh, that I wrote, produced, and directed will premiere this summer. It's a brutal and graphic horror/cop thriller starring Darin Bowman, Joe Debartolo, and Myles Valentine. Also, we are part of another anthology called Six Pack of Terror, a horror anthology that was started by filmmaker Jeramie Sandor of 3 Guy Productions. One of our films Flesh Fire, is part of this anthology.


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


My parents are the reason I'm making films. They always allowed me to watch cable - Cinemax, HBO, Showtime, rent movies, and go to the show. But in 1986 my dad and mom bought a VHS camcorder from Sears and I was filming everything in sight such as our family Christmases, setting up the camera for Halloween pranks for our trick or treaters at my parents' house, and shooting my first movies. I did attend film school at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to A Broken Promise?


I have shot many films, commercials, and music videos before A Broken Promise. My first feature that I directed and produced was The Icing. This film was my true film school because I learned so much about putting the production together from start to finish. Also, I had the honor of directing Jim McMahon, Chicago Bears Super Bowl champion quarterback. He played a very important part in the film. My second feature, Murder for Pleasure, which I wrote with my crewmembers Mike Miller and Anthony Pellizzerri was a graphic and vile piece in the mind of a serial killer. After these two features I kept exercising my directing muscle with tons of shorts, commercials, and music videos.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


As a director, I feel that I am very persistent and attack all my projects with bulldog tenacity. I am a collaborator and partner with my team and open to ideas and teamwork. I also love to mentor people who are just starting out.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Filmmakers who inspire me are Slyvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, Clint Eastwood, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriquez, Kevin Smith, Brian De Palma, Emilio Estevez and Martin Scorcese.


Your favourite movies?


Some of my favorite movies are Rocky, Rocky Balboa, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Clerks 3, Dirty Harry, BraveheartGran Torino, Pulp Fiction, Grand Canyon, Desperado, Scarface, Body Double, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Men at Work, Young Guns 1 & 2, Point Break, Over the Top, Saturday Night Fever, and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.


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


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There's not much I don't like, but genres that are not at the top of my list tend to be superhero movies, musicals and period pieces.


Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?



YouTube: @cheeviesfilms11

Facebook: @CheeviesFilmProductions

Instagram: @cheeviesfilm 



Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.


There's No Such Thing as Zombies
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry


directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke


now streaming at


Amazon UK





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