On Friday, May 19th, Film Forum will present the US theatrical premiere of STAY AWAKE, a powerful American indie drama that explores the struggles of two teenage brothers trying to cope with their mother’s prescription drug addiction in small-town Virginia. This debut film from director Jamie Sisley is a fictionalized account of his own coming of age, making it a personal and emotional story that resonates with audiences.
The film features Wyatt Oleff, who is known for his roles in the hit reboots of Stephen King’s IT and the upcoming series City on Fire, as well as Fin Argus from Queer as Folk. They play two brothers stuck in a cycle of despair, discovering their mother passed out, taking her to the hospital, and encouraging her to go to rehab. The mother is played by Chrissy Metz, who is best known for her role in the popular television series This Is Us.
Despite the heavy subject matter, STAY AWAKE is a film of uncommon empathy that finds humor and humanity amid the tragedy of parental addiction. It premiered at the 2022 Berlin International Film Festival where it received the Cinema Vision 14plus Award presented by AG Kino Gilde (Association of German Arthouse Cinemas) and a Special Jury Mention from the Generation 14plus youth jury. The film was hailed as “a strong and at the same time complex portrait of two young men who are discovering who they are.”
The last few months of high school are always a challenging time, but life becomes even more difficult for these brothers as they struggle to help their mother while dealing with their own issues. This emotional and timely film is a reminder of the importance of empathy, compassion, and understanding when dealing with addiction.