Falling Awake



What if you could take a pill that meant you never had to sleep again? Would you do it?

In the near future, just about everyone has answered yes to that question. Five years earlier, Kuhn-Addison Pharmaceuticals released Exsom-a drug that eliminates the body's need for sleep. It was an immediate hit with heads of state, the military, and airline pilots. Soon, everyone who could afford The Switch got on the treadmill-if only to keep up. Now Starbucks and motel chains teeter on the edge of bankruptcy, an orbital mirror gives the city 24-hour daylight, and the courts struggle with the question of whether it's legal to fire an employee for sleeping off the job.

The Sanduskys are among the last holdouts, a family divided by The Switch. Greg Sandusky lost his job as a pilot six months ago for refusing to take it. His 13-year-old daughter, Emily, can't wait to join her friends, who are all on Exsom. Greg's wife, Allison, supports Greg's position that Emily is still too young to make such a life changing decision. There's no going back from this: Once you've taken a single dose of the drug, you never sleep again. You must also report to a dream pod once a day to receive your dream rush, an infusion of dreams to maintain mental health.

But after Greg spends a night in jail for leading a rally against Exsom that sparks a riot, Allison admits she's grown weary of fighting the tide. She and Emily are going to take the drug. But when Allison does, something goes terribly wrong. She begins to convulse, and is pronounced dead on arrival at emergency, killed by a one-in-ten-million reaction to Exsom.

Not long after the funeral, Allison's mother tells Greg she's received a message from her departed daughter through her dream rush. He's s sceptical at first, but his grief leads him to probe further into the workings of the dream-pod network. The deeper he goes, the greater the risk of permanent damage to his brain, but he's driven on, convinced that his wife is trying to send him a message. And ultimately, Greg must take the Switch receive it.

That message is clear: His wife is still very much alive. Greg's search for her leads him to another shocking discovery. The daily infusion of dreams supplied to Exsom users can only be generated by people who still sleep-prisoners like Allison held in a secret dream hive where they are kept in a permanent REM state, living a perpetual nightmare.

Only narrowly escaping becoming a forced dreamer himself, Greg defeats the hive's guardian-a robotic nurse Ratched-and frees his wife along with the rest of the hive's prisoners.

But without the hive, the dream-pod network no longer functions. Within a few days, the first of the billions who have taken The Switch begin to hallucinate, staggering through the landscape of their own dreams. The government attempts to round up society's few remaining sleepers to get the dream hive back on line, but too late.

Now Greg must find a way to restore the system that shunned him, before the mental fabric of a world on Exsom unravels in a psychic Armageddon.

Producer:  Mary Anne Waterhouse
Story by:  David Jones
Written by  Scott Weber & David Jones
Development Financing:  Telefilm Canada, Maple Pictures, Movie Central, British Columbia Film and City TV


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