Wake Me When I Leave

by Tyler Rubenfeld

Feature | 63:29 | Origin: U.S.A. | Filming: U.S.A. | 2014 | English Language

A young woman waits out the night in a twilight state, where dreams, memories, revisited and reenacted events intermingle. She tries her best to parse truth from embellishment, reflecting on her relationship with the man sleeping soundly beside her.


About the director

What is your film about?

Jill and Todd, a young couple, are accosted on the street by two hooded men. Later, as Todd sleeps soundly, Jill waits out the night in a twilight state, where dreams, remembrances, revisited and reenacted events intermingle. Her thoughts drift to her first encounter with Todd, at a party both were too drunk to remember. Somewhere, buried in her subconscious, those memories still exist—their initial attraction, the springboard for a long, mutually dependent relationship. In her search for the truth, she will have to wade through the nightmarish visions of the present that seem to rewrite the past before her very eyes, and a growing suspicion that some of her dreams are not her own. “Wake Me When I Leave” is a headlong dive into the darkest recesses of the subconscious, a relationship drama that’s been fractured, embellished, and reassembled.

Much of our audience will be involved in the arts in one form or another. What’s one part of making your film that you think other artists could really relate to?

Art, at least for me, is so often about the search for an emotional truth. I wrote the script not always knowing the greater truth behind certain scenes—as long as it intuitively made sense, I went with it. The trick was to make sure that that truth, however ineffable, wasn’t lost in translation from the page to the screen. This meant having to understand why, exactly, something made intuitive sense without spoiling it in the process. Luckily, I was working with committed, talented actors and collaborators who could look within themselves and translate the ideas in the script with authenticity. I also applaud them for having the patience to let me stammer at them about “big ideas” for hours on end. Directing is 60% stammering.   

If someone is looking at the festival listings and doesn’t know what to see, why should they come to see your film?

One of the most electrifying feelings in the world is sitting in a dark room, facing an enormous screen, and having no idea where a film is taking you. You’re completely at the mercy of what’s on screen. Anything could happen. “Wake Me When I Leave” takes full advantage of this—it defies expectation at every corner. It may not be the breeziest viewing experience, but it will stick with you long after the credits roll. If you’re looking for something mysterious, something to digest slowly, this is the film to watch. That being said, it’s no pretentious slog either. There are funny parts and scary parts. You don’t have to deconstruct it all to enjoy it.

Screening Info

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 10 | 8:30pm- 9:37pm


Deutsche Schule- Courtyard

Screenings / Awards

Korea Intl’ Expat Film Festival | Seoul, Korea

World Premiere

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