Synthesize

Synthesize is a fictional story about a Ukrainian musician who travels to Canada to meet the one repairman she believes can resurrect her beloved father’s synthesizer, a Polivoks.

This film is written for and created by synth lovers, featuring Jay Lemak (Toronto’s top synth repairman) and a soundtrack made with 98% analog synthesizers.

Creative team

Writer/director: Matthew Edison
Producers: Miles DePaul, Chris DePaul, Natalie Novak

Filmmaker’s statement

Small worlds with big hearts.

I want to bring a ‘soft power’ approach to storytelling. Small, meaningful moments can be loaded with dramatic potential. Sometimes the simplest gesture moves us more than the grand gesture. This is the world of Synthesize.

I want to bring the audience emotionally into the lives of Bruce and Mila through humour, subtlety of expression, and simple authentic moments built one on top of another, to culminate in a single transformative moment. Put another way, inside the seemingly mundane lies the profane and the profound.

I remember stumbling on a YouTube video one night of Markus Fuller, an electrical engineer from England with a fascination for analog synths. It was the way Markus talked about these instruments, and their creators, with the same reverence some reserve for religious deities.

These were instruments with “currents of energy,” a “circulatory system,” a “brain,” “voices” that “sing.” They need to “warm up” or they get “worn out” or won’t “come to life.” These analog synths were like children and he was their father. I began to think of who the musician would be and why the instrument was so special. How that would bring them together to fulfill a mutual desire.

To me, Synthesize is essentially the story of a mother who brings her dying child to the one doctor she believes can save them. But in our story, the ‘child’ is a Soviet-era analog synthesizer and our ‘doctor’ is an electronic repairman.

By way of ensuring a genuine representation from the fastidious analog community, I cast Canada’s top analog synthesizer repairman — Jay Lemak of SynthsWhen — to play the lead role of Bruce. The authenticity of Jay’s performance, combined with his knowledge and appreciation of the synthesizers in the film, resulted in a performance that could only be achieved by someone who IS this character.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian/Canadian Lena Burmenko serves as a counterpoint to our reclusive scientist. She’s heartfelt, sensitive, emotional. While Bruce’s colour palette is a cooler temperature, Mila’s is warmer.

Finally, there’s a fully analog composition by the talented and prolific Peter Chapman. The music acts like a third character in the film, a representation of Mila’s late father.

About Matthew Edison

Matthew Edison

Matthew Edison has made an indelible mark on the Canadian entertainment industry both as an actor and writer. He is a graduate of Canterbury School for the Arts in Ottawa, the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in New York City and the Midsummer in Oxford program in England. He is also the great, great, great, grandnephew of American inventor Thomas Alva Edison.

Matt has starred in over 20 films: Dirty Singles, Harriet the Spy 2, The Wild Girl, Princess, Waking Up Walter: The Walter Gretzky Story, Static, and was featured in films like Mama (with Jessica Chastain), Flash of Genius (with Greg Kinnear), Our Fathers (with Brian Dennehy) and Interstate 60 (with Gary Oldman and Christopher Lloyd).

More recently, Matt appeared in the hit web series Save Me (with Brent Carver), and other TV shows like Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, L.A. Complex, Saving Hope, Rookie Blue, Republic of Doyle, House Party and Murdoch Mysteries, to name a few.

He played a recurring roles on A&E’s popular series Nero Wolfe, Ken Finkleman’s award-winning series At the Hotel, and the Comedy Channel’s House Party, and will soon be seen in eOne’s upcoming series The Detail, based on the hit British series Scott & Bailey.

Matt made his theatrical debut in the Canadian premiere of Martin McDonagh’s play The Beauty Queen of Leenane at CanStage in Toronto and since then has gone on to star in over 35 productions.

He is an accomplished voice actor, notably playing The Baron for the hit video game Thief, and the role of Nate for the audiobook Elephant in the Sky.

Matthew’s stage play The Domino Heart premiered at the Tarragon Theatre to great acclaim and numerous award nominations. His adaptation for CBC Radio Drama was touted as one of the most successful productions that year.

He has written and adapted several scripts for film and television including CBC’s Othello, The Law of Similars, Secret Family Recipe, Avenging Miriam and the radio comedy series Trust Inc. Recently, he wrote and directed his first short film, Synthesize, and is in development with his feature film, Hell’s Belles.

He has been twice nominated for the Dora Mavor Moore Award for his play The Domino Heart and for his role in Proof.

He lives in Toronto and Los Angeles.

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