BUFFALO, NY - When Paramount Pictures releases its eagerly-anticipated, new “found footage” thriller Project Almanac January 30th in theaters nationwide, the “Queen City” will be dutifully represented in a very prominent way.
Produced by Michael Bay, (Transformers, Bad Boys, The Purge) Project Almanac tells the cautionary tale of what happens when a group of teenagers build a time machine, abuse its functionality, and soon discover the ripple effects of their actions.
The movie marks the big screen debut of locally-owned, Buffalo-themed, apparel company, Retro Buffalo; whose “Field Guide to Queen City Mustaches” t-shirt design figures prominently on-screen, worn by leading actor, Sam Lerner.
Retro Buffalo owner, 45-year-old Joe Kontrabecki, III of Hamburg, was approached back in May of 2013 regarding his participation in what was only described at the time as a “teen-targeted, mockumentary thriller about time travel and found footage.”
“You don’t receive an email correspondence like that every day and when I heard that Michael Bay was attached, it was then that my curiosity was piqued,” added Kontrabecki.
“Doing a little due diligence, I soon realized that the agency consulting on this motion picture was one of the most well-respected in the entertainment industry (Terry Hines & Associates) in charge of product placement for the biggest studios in the world.” It was then that the wheels were put into motion.
Kontrabecki had multiple conference calls with the aforementioned agency and those in charge of wardrobe for this particular feature over at Paramount to discern what it was they were looking for based on the character studies in the film.
“There was a lot of ‘hurry up’ and almost two years of wait,” Kontrabecki explained.
Once the producers and director agreed upon a direction, a design was selected and replica t-shirts (for on-screen continuity) were overnighted on location down in Georgia ahead of the actual filming.
“It’s definitely surreal,” said Kontrabecki, “One minute your routinely checking your inbox, and the next minute you’re on the phone with Paramount Pictures.”
The tee design itself boasts the mustached silhouettes of 12 prominent “Buffalonians” ranging from Rick James, Andre Reed, and Rick Martin, to Teddy Roosevelt, Fred Smerlas, and Mike Randall.
Kontrabecki, whose Retro Buffalo apparel company (RetroBuffalo.com) is coming off of a year that has seen his designs featured on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown featuring host and Buffalo Bills’ stalwart, Chris Berman, inclusion by Delaware North, Inc. as a product line now available at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, and the donation of $14,000 to Hunter’s Hope Foundation based on the sales of his company’s “Kelly Tough” tee design.
“2014 was a breakout year,” said Kontrabecki, “and this movie opportunity only underscores what lies ahead, not only in 2015, but beyond.”
Project Almanac opens nationwide Friday.