The Rise of the Synths (80s retro music documentary)
The Rise of the Synths (80s retro music documentary)
A documentary about the synthwave scene, 80s nostalgia, retromania & memories. Inspired in Carpenter, Moroder & Tangerine Dream legacy.
A documentary about the synthwave scene, 80s nostalgia, retromania & memories. Inspired in Carpenter, Moroder & Tangerine Dream legacy. Read more
About this project
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Feature documentary (90-120 min.) about the synthwave scene, 80s nostalgia, audiovisual collective memories and electronic music.
NOTE: This is a teaser specially shoot for the crowdfunding campaign and pitch the concept, this is not the actual film footage.
Mood teaser / Sizzle reel:
Interview on "Synthwaves" hosted by Noah Kaufmann on "KFAI" Radio.
The natural way of the cultural wave: we generally experience that musical and cultural trends shift from an outstanding position within public opinion to near utter rejection, refusal and ridicule, through an ever-shortening period of time. However, if that period of time is extended, to often several decades, we can witness a renovation, a new heightened recognition – the rebirth of the wave. Through today’s global reach, powered by the internet, cultural waves and fascinations can resurface and manifest themselves, with an even much bigger fan impact than the original source.
The film is a travel in time towards the roots of a worldwide grass-root music scene known as Synthwave, an irresistible blend of modern electronic composition with 80s pop culture’s nostalgia, that over the last two years has transformed from a whisper on selected internet hubs, to an ever-growing scene, expanding rapidly as we speak. Accounting millions of plays on social media, devoted fans are legion, but nobody in the mass media knows about them.
Thousands of synthwave composers around the world are living out double-lives. Away from their normal everyday life they spend another half-life behind a faceless musical avatar, creating and uploading their own renditions of 80’s-styled film scores, sharing them with the world – surging the wave. They belong to an endless army of watchers for the master’s legacy: the sound that Edgar Froese, Giorgio Moroder and John Carpenter created in the late 70s.
A time travel into the universe of creating sounds. A love letter to human fascination and the collective memories of an universe that never existed.
The scene is composed by hundreds of composers of Synthwave music around the world, a digital native grass-root movement, created through internet and promoted through social networks.
We've managed to gather together an amazing lineup of synthwave artists from all over the world, most of them without any previous on camera interviews.
The artists involved are:
Electric Youth, College, Miami Nights 1984, Com Truise, Nightcrawler, Dynatron, Dance with the Dead, Maethelvin, Stellar Dreams, Vincenzo Salvia, Jordan F, Futurecop!, The Midnight, Power Glove, 80s Stallone, Betamaxx, Kristine, Darkest, Lazerhawk, Mitch Murder, Carpenter Brut, Timecop 1983, OGRE, Waveshaper, MPM Soundtracks.
We are also working in feature more key-players in the scene: labels, influencers (blogs, podcasts, youtube channels, etc...), designers, fans, vhs and retro-technology lovers.
And of course, some of the Masters themselves: Giorgio Moroder, John Carpenter, Claudio Simonetti (Goblin), Tangerine Dream, Brad Fiedel, Stu Phillips, Vangelis, Harold Faltermeyer and Jan Hammer (to name a few). Some of these iconic names have already stated their interest in being involved, but even if we're dying to let you know, for legal reasons we can't unveil more details until the crowdfunding succeed and the project can go in production.
There’s five levels of narrative structure in the film.
> SEC. NARRATIVE STRUCTURE: MUSIC STORY TIMELINE
The film is a time travel towards the roots of the music genre, back in the late 70s. A quick overview of this time travel:
- Today: Presentation of the current scene situation.
- 2010: The scene arises, getting their biggest media attention to date when in 2011 the film “Drive” wins Cannes.
- 2000s: the seminal scene is created on myspace (Actrazer, Lazerhawq, 80s stallone, etc.). Vallerie Collective from France are very important at that moment. College’s “Secret diary” is released in 2008. A lot of French artists start exploring this retro 80s sound.
- 90s: with the grunge and alternative rock explosion, the 80s sound is denied, considered a thing from the past. The film scores flea away from this characteristic electronic sound.
- 80s: Going back to the Golden age of the real original sound, the 80s are full of synth music of all kinds. One of the most characteristics sounds comes from film and tv scores, that all synthwave artists seem to reminisce when they compose their music: Jan Hammer, Hans Zimmer, Brad Fiedel, Stu Phillips, Vangelis, Harold Faltermeyer, etc...
- 70s: There’s a sacred trinity that almost every synthwave artist quotes as being part of their influences: Giorgio Moroder, Tangerine Dream and John Carpenter. But if there’s a man who’s consistently referenced by each of them, it’s John Carpenter.
Sec. Narrative Structure: Character-Driven / Emotional
The story is character-driven, focusing on the duality of their day job and mundane existence vs. their night alter-ego as music producers. We will follow them in their studios, day jobs, free time, hang out with their friends, go to observe their gigs, trying to not interfere. We want to know who they are. We will also interview them; we want to connect with them emotionally.
> SEC. NARRATIVE STRUCTURE: HUMAN BEHAVIOUR & SCIENCE
The fan base is huge, reaching worldwide status: From the movie buff or the music nerd, to the videogame geek or the 80s fan. They all love this music which sounds delightfully outdated.
Digging into the work of scientist Daniel Levintin (“This is your brain on music”), music journalist Simon Reynolds (“Retromania”) and musician David Byrne (“How music works”), we’ll explore the way memories work and how they are created, in particular the science behind music memories and the brain connections which spark this light to the past. How art, in the form of nostalgia, always recycles things from the past in an endless loop of renewal.
> SEC. NARRATIVE STRUCTURE: SYNTH RIDER
As we have seen, the universe of the film is very broad and far beyond the purely musical aspect, exploring multiple windows and interconnections. To keep the viewer’s interest, we need to find a common semantic to all of them, regardless of the language they speak. This music is inspired by 80s pop culture, and created its own icon, used endlessly: the anti-hero. A tough guy, lonely, with a mission. For that, we have created the “Synth Rider” character.
It’s an unveiled reference to the “Night Rider” character in George Miller’s film, Mad Max. The character is also a modernized caricature of these 80s anti-heroes. He’s a crossover between Mario Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone) in “Cobra” (1982) and the unnamed driver (Ryan Gosling) in “Drive” (2011). His mission is to watch after the Masters’ legacy (Carpenter, Moroder, Edgar Froese and other original composers), traveling through time and space in a Delorean.
He personifies the Zeitgeist of this visual and sound universe. He’s a metaphor of the grassroot movement, created naturally over a decade through the internet. Being a pop culture common semantic element, recognized and accepted by all, it serves as a narrative connection between fans, composers and masters, among locations (characters) and time (musical chronology), between reality and fiction.
> SEC. NARRATIVE STRUCTURE: NARRATOR
The narrator of the film is the voice that will guide us all through this time travel towards the past.
The narrator of the film willing to be involved is a legendary film director, a true hollywood outsider very respected within - and outside - the scene. He will be the Master, the Voice that unites all the synthwave composers in this universe of collective memories.
In a Carl Sagan philosophical style, he will either talk to us as if the Synth Rider were listening to a motivational tape in his car, or by a talking directly to his “sons” –the synthwave composers– directly to camera in a “breaking the 4th wall” style.
But remember: to be officially attached, the film must be fully funded. Otherwise, it would not happen.
All the narrative structures will mix together in the film, always in a very cinematographic and delicate framing. We’re exploring one of the finest decades in the relationship between music and film, we want to honor that. We’re going for a mix of neo-neoir (Blade runner, Akira, Terminator, Drive, etc.) visual style with a salt of colorful and warmer shots (Miami Vice, Top Gun, To Live and Die in L.A., etc.) for live-action following our main characters.
For interviews, we’ll shoot in a more classical style albeit trying to find backgrounds that reflect the 80s vibe, not a grey studio flat style. Graphic animation and any visual in the film will also follow this path. We’ll use old footage (video and photos) either from film studios and/or personal archives to illustrate the part when they talk about film inspirations from the 80s/70s. Music is very important of course, we’ll use the amazing synthwave music from the composers we’ll feature in the documentary.
Unfortunately it's going to be a surprisingly expensive documentary. Since it is character driven, it will involve travelling to many places, all over the world with a minimal crew with equipment. Because this subject is misunderstood by the film industry and labelled as a fringe 80's retro movement, it is quite complicated to raise funding from traditional filmmaking sources.
The film industry just doesn't quite get the topic, it global outreach, the opportunity it carries. Without your financial support, this documentary will not be made. We are alone in this Synthriders, but we are many, we are legion and we know you are there, and there is a strong interest in this film. So, there's only one chance left for this documentary to happen. We need you. The time has come to ride together.
We're asking half of our budget, that will provide us with enough funds to cover production costs and start the shooting worldwide. Also it will allow us to get most of the footage to start editing the final product. Here's the financial breakdown and how your money will be expended in our project:
All the rewards are limited edition and will not be available at retail stores. Of course there will be dvd/blu-ray and other merchandising that we will sell, but not in this particular packages or form. They are one-time only exclusive items.
These are design mockups of the final products. But they are pretty close.
1) T-shirt choice for everybody! Now you can also choose from among the three t-shirt options for rewards that includes a t-shirt ("Cobretti" and higher levels). We can't modify the description but once the crowdfunding ends, we'll contact you and you could specify the one you want.
2) Sweatshirt added to "Rockatansky", "Master" and "Godfather" levels. You can choose among #11A and #11B. Same thing here, we can't modify the description but once the crowdfunding ends, we'll contact you and you could specify your choice.
3) Digital download (HD) included in all rewards.
4) Digital download of the soundtrack (KS limited edition) included in all "Cobretti" rewards and above.
5) Add-ons. Make your own bundle! (see below)
Use our new Add-ons and create your bundle!
How does it works?
You buy the pledge(*) you want and then add the quantity shown above, of the item you want, to the price (add 10€ for shipping on pledges below 45€). Then you can comment or send us a message with your choice.
(*) If you want to upgrade an existing pledge, enter on "Manage your pledge" and make the process.
(**) There's a typo in the Sweatshirt: it's +50€.
Castell & Moreno Films
Ivan Castell. Director and film editor (co-founder of Castell&Moreno). His directorial debut came in 2008, as director of the short film “Nave # 527, presented in several audio-visual markets such as Clermont-Ferrand (France). The film went viral and had a great impact in the Spanish national media. Last year he released “Trovadores”, his feature documentary debut, distributed worldwide by Kinonation.
He has made music videos for The Closers (King of Patio Records), Hankat (Sounds of Copenhagen Records), Grossomodo (Rap Solo) and Limnopolar (Delicias Record Company).
As film editor, he has worked in feature films such as “Justi&Cia” (Sendino and Machin), “Many pieces of something” (Outkast filmmakers) and “Chrysalis” (Amapola Films).
Javier Moreno. Producer and project manager (co-founder of Castell&Moreno). He has a background in developing audiovisual projects for NGOs. Although his main personal focus has so far been on documentary films, he has also worked in fiction works (short films as “¡Al Quinto!” by Nacho Estaregui or “Descubriendo a Mosen Bruno” by Maxi Campo with Jesse Johnson), music videos and commercials.
In 2014 he presented his first documentary film as producer and co-director “The Children of Tomorrow”, shot in India.
Beltrán García. DP. After studying a Cinema and DP Master, he has developed a remarkable blend of guerrilla and cinematic style skills through years of working in music videos, short films and documentaries. “Best Freunde” (Germany) or Justi&Cia (Spain) are among his latest works in feature films as cinematographer.
Silvia Sobrino. Producer. Feature and short films producer. Responsible of Programming at the Luchon International Film Festival (France).
Social Media Backstage
Community Management agency focused on social media. With a combination of creativity and profitability they built and manage a brand fans community.
El Pájaro Cósmico
Independent production company born from the concern of building and developing independent and high quality audiovisual content. “El pájaro cósmico” team are:
- Pelayo Gutierrez. Sound engineer (co-founder). His long career started in 1993. With more than 130 featured films among his Works he has worked with directors such as Montxo Armendáriz, Alberto Rodríguez, Icíar Bollaín or Pedro Almodóvar. He received 10 Goya nominations and has been 3 times the winner. He was nominated in 2012 for a Golden Reel Award for “La piel que habito” by Pedro Almodóvar and has received many other recognitions.
- Malena Carreras. Producer (co-founder). She is the producer of several short and feature Spanish films. She has also worked in advertising for international brands such as UNICEF or Hyundai.
Graphic design and communication studio with over 10 years experience in managing art direction and audiovisual creation.
Risks and challenges
We're asking half of our budget, that will provide us with enough funds to cover production costs and start the shooting worldwide.
We'll need additional funds to complete the editing, postproduction, vfx and theatrical distribution of the film, but once we have started the production of the film, it'll be much easier to get co-production deals and other traditional filmmaking funding.
We'll also have to deal with archive and music licences. In order to tell our story we'll need studio film footage and also clear licences from the music involved. It'll not be cheap. Our plan is to involve an independent music label that'll like to supervise and take charge of that.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
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