2006 | USA | Documentary,Experimental,Feature

Wide Awake

  • English 79 mins
  • Director | Alan Berliner
  • Writer | Alan Berliner

This film is currently not available.   

A film that balances the precision of a Swiss watch with the messiness of a restless mind, Wide Awake is filmmaker Alan Berliner’s uniquely personal tour through his life-long obsession with insomnia.

In the spirit of his highly acclaimed experimental documentary films, Intimate Stranger (1991), Nobody’s Business (1996), and The Sweetest Sound (2001), Berliner once again uses his own life as a laboratory – this time to confront both the anguish of his sleeplessness, and the blessing of extra time that it

Berliner uses both metaphor and candid first-person observations to illuminate how an obsessive mind that won’t shut down at night leaves him feeling “jet lagged in his own time zone.” Incorporating hundreds of archival film clips, consultations with sleep specialists, an overnight stay at a sleep lab, conversations with family members, home movies and dream visualizations – all woven together by a strikingly dynamic sound design -- Wide Awakeis a cinematically innovative film that pushes at the borders of documentary storytelling. In many ways Wide Awake is also a film about filmmaking. We see footage documenting the process of making Wide Awake, including shots of Berliner recording narration, talking with his film crew, working at his desk and editing at his computer. There’s even a raucously caffeinated tour of his studio, in which we begin to understand a lot more about Berliner’s obsessions and how they serve him as a filmmaker. As the film progresses, Berliner reveals more and more about his secret life as a “night owl,” and we learn how he has turned the very obsessive energy that keeps him up at night into a source of fuel and inspiration for his creative work.

The birth of his son Eli brings great joy, but also forces Berliner’s to re-think how he has been coping with his sleep problems; suddenly he is no longer just “jet lagged in his own time zone,” but now confronts the reality that he is “living in a different time zone from his own family.” Frustrated by the impact of his sleep problems on their marriage, his wife Shari issues an ultimatum that: “things have got to change.”

Berliner is torn between the creative passion he derives from the night, and the emotional pulls of love and responsibility he feels for his family. There are no easy answers. By the end of Wide Awake, viewers are sure to ponder not only whether Berliner can be cured by what he’s learned about insomniax but with the stakes so high, whether he really wants to be. A film about obsession. About seeing in the dark. About the emotional tugs of love and family. About creativity itself. Portrait of an artist as insomniac.

PRODUCED, DIRECTED
WRITTEN & EDITED
By Alan Berliner

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Natalya Trifonova

STORY CONSULTANTS
Spencer Seidman
Shari Spiegel

DIRECTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Ian Vollmer
2ND CAMERA INTERVIEWS
Steve Beganyi
America Maldonado
Beth Pielert
Oren Rudavsky
Natalya Trifonova

ADDITIONAL CAMERA
Alan Berliner
Senain Kheshgi
Spencer Seidman
Shari Spiegel

SOUND RECORDING
Steve Beganyi
John Haptas
John Kashuk
Ramón Rivera-Moret
Chris Ward

LIGHTING
Jannette Eng
Justus McLarty
Sarah Singh
Dolly Soto

ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE RESEARCH
Dolly Soto
Eric Simon

LINE PRODUCER
Emily Stevens

ACCOUNTANT
Lawrence Silver

LEGAL
Ken Tabachnick

MUSIC CLEARANCES
Gerry Gershman

INTERNS
Gene Hyfler
Sarah Lipkin
Megumi Takada

ONLINE EDITOR / COLORIST
Steve Beganyi
Postworks

SOUND MIX
Bill Seery
Mercer Media
TITLE DESIGN
David Rivello

ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE
Getty Images
MacDonald & Associates
National Archives

ADDITIONAL ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE AND PHOTOGRAPHS
The Associated Press
Corbis
The Douris Corporation
Skip Elsheimer
Goldcrest Films International Ltd.
ITN/Reuters

Dr. William C. Dement, MD, PhD. Director
Sleep Disorder Clinic & Research Center
Stanford University

Dr. Leonid Kayumov, PhD. Director
Sleep Neuropsychiatry Institute
University of Toronto

Mark R. Rosekind, Ph.D
President & Chief Scientist
Alertness Solutions
Cupertino, CA

Dr. Richard D. Simon Jr., MD Medical Director
Kathryn Severyns Dement Sleep Disorders Center
Walla Walla, WA

Dr. Art Spielman, PhD. Associate Director
Center for Sleep Medicine,
Weill Medical College
NY Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell University

SPECIAL THANKS
Dr. Jodi Mindel
Carolyn Schur

THANKS
Sabina Barach
Susan Benaroya
Oscar Berliner
Vanessa Bertozzi
Dr. Jed Black
Tania Blanich
Anna Boludo
Vladislav Boyarsky
Willa Brody
Mary Carskadon
Joe Caterini
Al Cassuto
Ben Cassuto
Mark Cassuto
Darcy Cohn
Pat Cosentino
Efrén Cuevas
Jasmine Dellal
Boris Dubrovsky
Matt Ebben
George Eli
Esther Friedman
Angela Giacomini
Michelle Grissom
Michael Halatyn
John Haptas
Tracy Hickenbottom
Ed Hirsch
Shana Hofstetter
Rod Holland
Richard Hyfler
Christine Jones
Andy Kavoori
Alex Kestner
Laura Kipnis
Arthur Knight
Susi Korda
Peter Kupfer
Lenox Hill Hospital
Ruby Lerner
Anne S. Lewis
Kristin Loeb
Phillip Lopate
Anna Lopez
Kathleen McCann
Justus McLarty
Bernard McWilliams
Peter Mozarsky
Alex Noyes
Richard Peña
Rick Prelinger
Katrina Pryor
Mary Recine
Marcia Rock
Jay Rosenblatt
Patti Rosenbloom
Amelia Rosner
Jade Silver
Starr Silver
Helen Solomon
Cindy Spiegel
Kelly Spivey
Colette Staump
Mark Street
Barbara Tanis
1010 WINS News Radio
The Standby Program, Inc.
Robert Tognoli
Larry Towers
Gina Virgilio
Dr. Paul Wagner
Andrea Weiss
Dr. Sidney Wu

SENIOR PRODUCER
Lisa Heller

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Sheila Nevins
 

Alan Berliner Infrared Camera 3:00AM

sleep insomnia dream brain lab light
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