who_needs_sleepDirected by Haskell Wexler & Lisa Leeman

Who Needs Sleep?  Ahhh... the glamorous life in Hollywood. Or is it? Film crews routinely work sweatshop hours, often clocking 15 to 18 hour days at the expense of their families, their health, their well-being, and even their lives.

In 1997, after a 19-hour day on the set, assistant cameraman Brent Hershman fell asleep behind the wheel, crashed his car, and died. Deeply disturbed by Hershman's preventable death, filmmaker and multiple-Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler and co-director Lisa Leeman show how sleep deprivation and long work hours are a lethal combination. WHO NEEDS SLEEP? is a commentary on our (American workaholic) quality of life.   Interviews with Julia Roberts, Annette Benning, Billy Crystal, John Sayles, & more…


“There is no such thing as civilized hours in the motion picture business.” - Richard Zanuck, producer

“In all my years in this business, I’ve never had dinner with my family when I’m working.” - Ken Zander, DP

“For somebody who doesn’t have regular work they are not going to complain about their hours because they can’t afford to.” - Annette Bening, actor

“We kept one group up just 24 hours, and we got one group drunk. And we compared the sleepy patients with the group that got drunk and they essentially had the same performance.” - Dr. Powell

“We are the only group of industrialized workers in the world fighting for a 14-hour day.” - Michael Everett, electrician

“A sharp but entertaining wake-up call to the film industry around the world that, sooner or later, might become infected with this “American disease." - FilmFestivals.com


Sundance Film Festival, January 2006   

Edinburgh International Film Festival, August 2006

Los Angeles Film Festival, June 2006

Newport Beach Film Festival, April 2006

Santa Barbara Film Festival, February 2006 

National Sleep Foundation 

12 ON / 12 OFF