Your friendly mailman is not who you think he is. At least that’s what Mike Wurtz and Jason Green would like you to believe.
The Elmira duo have cooked up “Postmen,” a film which documents the lives of two postal workers, one rookie and one veteran, who do a whole lot more than deliver your mail.
The film is part of Cineplex’s challenge, titled CineCoup, which pits aspiring Canadian filmmakers against each other with the ultimate prize of $1 million to shoot their film. Wurtz and Green wrote the script, with Green doing double duty as the producer, and Adrian Konstant joining the team as director and editor.
Wurtz and Green have been working together on movie ideas since high school.
“We’ve always had a bunch of different stories in development and this is one of the ones that we worked on,” Wurtz said. “I guess we thought it would be kind of neat to juxtapose the mundane with the fantastic and it would be kind of cool if the mailman that we see every single day was actually saving the world every week, but we just never know about it.”
The challenge involves missions every couple weeks. For example, they first had to create a trailer. Next, they’ll have to film a one-minute video explaining what makes their movie different from the rest. The 120 teams will be halved to 60 after fans cast their votes between April 6-10. From there you can vote two more times to bring the competitors down to 30 and then just 15.
“There’s a million bucks on the line,” Green said. “If we win a million dollars that changes our life and we end up bringing this film money to this area and we can start making movies at home.”
They filmed the trailer all over the place, from Milton to Guelph to right here in Elmira. For those who haven’t worked in the movie business, just putting together their one-minute trailer took days.
“Oh man do we have a lot of footage,” Wurtz said with a laugh. “It’s funny because any time you see any film, the rule of thumb [is] it’s 10 minutes worth of footage for one minute of trailer. If you’re changing locations then it’s like 10 minutes per location.”
Cineplex didn’t do the challenge last year, instead opting to do ComedyCoup, a partnership with CBC to find the next best TV pilot. Two years ago WolfCop won CineCoup. Wurtz said the whole point of the challenge is to show people how complex it is to put together a film, while also making a great movie on Canadian soil.
“They really want to explain to people that when you’re making indie films, there absolutely are a bunch of different aspects to it, business oriented, creativity, planning involved that goes into pitching to large production companies and trying to eventually get your movie made,” Wurtz said. “They’re bringing the fans in right from the beginning and showing them the method throughout the whole program.”
The cast is made up of people they’ve worked with in the past, actors they’ve seen perform elsewhere, and a couple auditions they held. Having Konstant on board creates the perfect formula, they agree.
“We’ve had the pleasure of working with Adrian on a couple of his feature films, one was “I was a Greenhouse” and the other one was “A Snowy Season,” which is in production,” Wurtz said.
Wurtz said this challenge gives them the opportunity to write a veteran cop/rookie cop type of story like they’ve always wanted to, but in a different way.
“We essentially wanted to do something that no one’s ever seen before,” Wurtz said. “The CineCoup Challenge was a great opportunity for us to bring this project into fruition because the CineCoup Accelerator Challenge is a really cool, disruptive incubator for making these ideas.”
Green added there are probably five different teams from the Kitchener-Waterloo area.
“There are people in our neighbourhood making movies and there’s some really good production companies that are working on projects that a lot of people don’t see even outside of this contest,” Green said.
Green noted they all have day jobs and backgrounds in different fields. While they don’t have a technical education in the business, they’re confident they’ve got a story moviegoers will enjoy.
“Some of the best filmmakers that I’ve ever met personally, some of them went to school, some of them didn’t,” Green said. “It’s all about doing what you love.”
To view the trailer, keep updated on the contest, and to vote, visit www.cinecoup.com/postmen.