|The Cleaners poster, by Nathan Wells|
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The Cleaners is an 2018 crime brickfilm by Nathan Wells and Zach Macias. It centers around two hitmen, Ernie and Bert, who are in search of a photograph and must clean up the mess after they kill their newest target. It was originally intended to be produced within two days, but ended up taking two years on and off.
A man in hotel room nervously makes a call. He promises to hand in a photo and arranges someone to head over to the motel to collect it from him. A knock on the door surprises him. He looks through the peep hole to see who it is, and is immediately shot dead.
Ernie and Bert, the two hitmen, break the door open. As they walk into the room, they toss a coin to see who will do what. Bert removes any evidence of the crime scene, and Ernie searches for the photograph, whilst a mysterious onlooker watches from the balcony on the other side of the motel.
Bert rips up the blood stained carpet. Ernie finds a $100 bill hidden in a Bible, and sneaks it into his jacket pocket. After searching through the room, Ernie takes a break, and tries turning the television on with the remote, but it won't work. He looks at the back of the remote and finds the photo, concealed inside. The photo is of Bert and Ernie disposing of a previous body.
Bert and Ernie leave immediately, leaving the photo behind. When a cleaning lady enters the motel room to clean it, she discovers a patch of the carpet missing, and the photograph. As she picks up the photo, the mysterious man who watched the hitmen from the balcony walks into the room, takes the photo from her and walks away.
- Nathan Wells - Writer, Animator, Editor, Director, Digital effects
- Zach Macias - Writer, Animator, Editor, Director, Digital effects, Sound design
- Philip Heinrich - Special thanks
After having collaborated via the internet for many years, Nathan Wells and Zach Macias first collaborated on LEGO animation in real life for the animated sequences of Bricks in Motion: The Documentary. Afterwards, they decided that they should co-produce more films in real life. To this end, they came up with the "Brick Mind Animation Challenge"; a challenge to themselves to create a brickfilm from start to finish within 48 hours, inspired by the Twenty-four Hour Animation Contest.
From March 12 - 14, 2016, they worked on a brickfilm while livestreaming the entire event to Twitch. The theme of the film was voted on by viewers, who chose "The Secrets We Keep". The first day was mostly spent on one shot, and the film was not completed within the two days. Zach later returned to Nathan's house for another weekend of animation, and the majority of animation was completed by this point. Further progress was slowly made between other projects, including another co-creation, Star Wars: Rogue Unit, which was not a brickfilm. The Cleaners ended up spending over 2 years in production.
The Cleaners is the first brickfilm co-directed by Wells and Macias since Feel Great in 2006, though in the meantime they did work together on the community project The Day Brickfilms.com Crashed, the double feature Diatribe/Malapropos, and the animated sequences of Bricks in Motion: The Documentary.