Berlinale Award-winning ‘Stay Awake’ by Jamie Sisley ’15 Hits Theatres

Carlos Barragán
May 24, 2023

Stay Awake, a film featuring the talents of a group of distinguished School of the Arts alumni, has begun its theatrical journey. Following a triumphant festival circuit run and an award at the prestigious Berlinale, Stay Awake made its highly anticipated theatrical debut on May 19 at New York's Film Forum. The next stop is Los Angeles’s Laemmle Royal on May 25, with further screenings planned across the United States.

Written and directed by Jamie Sisley ’15, Stay Awake is a heartfelt exploration of adolescence, drawing from the director’s personal experiences growing up in a small town in Virginia with a mother addicted to prescription drugs. The film captures the challenges of high school life against the backdrop of a mother’s self-destructive behavior, masterfully portrayed by This Is Us star Chrissy Metz. Her sons, played compellingly by Wyatt Oleff (City on Fire) and Fin Argus (Queer as Folk), navigate a ceaseless cycle of despair and hope.

Producer and Adjunct Associate Professor Shrihari Sathe ’09 and co-producers Rob Cristiano ’13, Sarah Dorman Sveen ’15, and Alvaro Valente ’14 have also contributed their unique expertise to the project.

Stay Awake is a masterful balancing act of addiction, compassion, and difficult choices, yet it still manages to capture hilarious moments and periods of joy. Always ready with a lightness or glimmer of hope, it beautifully balances the entire film,” critic Ross Bonaime wrote in Collider, praising the film as “one of the best directorial debuts of the year.”

Stay Awake is available in a limited number of theaters in the US. You can check them out on the film’s official website