Chrissy Metz, the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated star of “This Is Us,” stars alongside “It” actor Wyatt Oleff and Fin Argus in Jamie Sisley’s drama “Stay Awake,” which premieres at the Berlin Film Festival this week.
The feature — which is based on Sisley’s 2015 short film of the same name — centers on brothers Ethan (Oleff) and Derek (Argus), who are trying their best to navigate the pressures of teenage life while tending to their mother’s (Metz) debilitating prescription drug addiction.
Based on Sisley’s experience growing up in small-town America, “Stay Awake” is billed as “a personal exploration of the roller coaster ride that families go on while trying to help their loved ones battle a disease that affects millions every day.”
In an exclusive clip shared with Variety, the two brothers are shown arguing about the money needed to pay for their mother’s rehabilitation treatment. The subject matter is especially resonant given the recent representation of America’s drug crisis on screen in shows such as Hulu’s “Dopesick.”
“The themes and characters in ‘Stay Awake’ mean the world to me since they’re based on my childhood. My mom has fought an addiction to prescription drugs and opioids for most of her life,” said Sisley. “As teens, my brother and I tried our best to aid her through relapses, cycle her through treatment centers, and encourage her to seek out a sober lifestyle.
“When I first started watching films about addiction, I realized that most were from the point of view of the addict,” added the director. “One of the biggest reasons I wanted to make ‘Stay Awake’ was to offer an alternative POV to addiction — the roller coaster ride that caretakers go on while helping someone they love through their disease. In many ways, this film is a love letter to the caretaker.”
“Stay Awake” has its world premiere in Berlin on Saturday (Feb. 12). WME is representing sales globally.
Watch an exclusive clip from the film below: