Jamie Sisley’s American indie debut drama, STAY AWAKE, is a fictionalized account of the filmmaker’s coming of age, as he struggles to get out from under the yoke of a prescription-drug-addicted mother in small-town Virginia. Life in the last, lame-duck months of high school, with a job at the Jolly Cow ice cream drive-in, would be cringe-inducing enough without a deeply depressed, self-destructive mother (Chrissy Metz, star of This is Us). Wyatt Oleff (City on Fire) and Fin Argus (Queer as Folk) play teenage brothers stuck in a cycle of discovering their mom passed out, dragging her to the hospital, and encouraging rehab. Despair quickly turns to hope and then boomerangs back again. Featuring three superb performances that find surprising humor and humanity amid the tragedy of parental addiction. Writer/Director Jamie Sisley (Farewell Ferris Wheel) joins us for a conversation on assembling a superb cast of actors, delivering a story of uncommon empathy that is very much of the moment, and a moving drama that subverts audience expectations about addicts.
About the filmmaker – Jamie Sisley is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker. Stay Awake, his narrative debut, premiered at the 2022 Berlin Film Festival, where it won the AG Kino Gilde Auteur Award. Sisley also received an Emmy Nomination for his feature documentary, Farewell Ferris Wheel. Sisley is a graduate of the University of Virginia.
89% on RottenTomatoes
“Gorgeously shot, honest and deeply personal.” – Virgie Tovar, Forbes
“Especially resonant given the recent representation of America’s drug crisis.” – Manori Ravindran, Variety
“Youthful wisdom is laced throughout Jamie Sisley’s feature debut.” – Stephen Saito, The Moveable Fest
“A balancing act of addiction, compassion, difficult choices, that still manages hilarious moments and periods of joy. One of the best directorial debuts of the year.” – Ross Bonaime, Collider
“Sisley tells the story on a personal tone, showing how the drama goes hand to hand with humor, and how in the most difficult moments, humans can get a connection beyond any limit.” – Laura Hiros, Rincón de cine