'All the World Is Sleeping' sheds light on the realities of addiction - Albuquerque Journal

‘All the World Is Sleeping’ sheds light on the realities of addiction

All the World is Sleeping
New Mexico native Ryan Lacen’s latest film, “All the World is Sleeping” is currently available on digital platforms. (Courtesy of Bjoern Kommerell)

Ryan Lacen grew up in Albuquerque going to the movies with his family.

It is there he would be thrust into a world created by a team of filmmakers.

He was intrigued by the concept, which is why today, Lacen is a filmmaker.

The New Mexico native also has a film playing in theaters, which has always been one of his goals.

After years of patience, “All the World is Sleeping,” is playing in select theaters and is available for rental and purchase on all digital platforms.

“What a journey it’s been,” Lacen says. “To have the movie in theaters and being played alongside the films of today, it’s amazing. When we first started this film, I knew it was important, but you never know where it’s going to end up.”

In 2017, the Albuquerque-based nonprofit Bold Futures decided to try using film to tell the stories of women who so often are voiceless.

“All the World Is Sleeping” sheds light on the realities of addiction and the resources desperately needed for families living in cycles of addiction.

Production on the film didn’t take place until 2018, when it began in Las Cruces.

Lacen and crew used all of 2019 to edit the film and prepared it for a 2020 release – then the pandemic hit.

By 2021, the film was on the festival circuit, where it picked up best narrative feature at the New York Latino Film Festival. Then it had a New Mexico premiere at the Santa Fe International Film Festival in October 2021.

“We filmed it all on a limited budget,” Lacen says. “We had to premiere it at a drive-in theater in the Bronx. I’ve always wanted to have my own film in a theater and it’s such a special moment. Not only for me, but for the cast, crew and Bold Futures, who worked so hard to have these women’s voices uplifted.”

The film’s main character, Chama, played by Melissa Barrera, is an imaginative composite of the seven women who helped craft this storyline. Chama encompasses elements of their bravery and struggles while exposing the arduous circumstances they have endured.

All the World is Sleeping
Ryan Lacen on the set of “All the World is Sleeping” in Las Cruces. (Courtesy of Ryan Lacen)

Barrera, along with co-star Jackie Cruz, worked with the mothers on and off set to authentically capture and represent their truth. Each genuinely wanted to understand the “cyclical, chaotic, yet hopeful” side of fighting addiction.

Barrera has since been seen in the film “In the Heights” and will be Carmen in the movie “Carmen.” Cruz skyrocketed to fame in the TV series “Orange Is the New Black.”

Lacen was raised in Albuquerque, then went to New Mexico State University for a year before heading to the University of New Mexico for the remainder of his schooling.

Though he now resides in Los Angeles, where he runs his production company, Normal, Lacen is always looking to bring productions back to New Mexico.

“It’s my home,” he says of New Mexico. “The older that I get, I’m able to tell unique stories through film. I started as a film intern and now I’m directing. It’s up to me now to turn stories into film. I’m trying to leave my mark through films that make a difference.”

Lacen hopes that “All the World is Sleeping” will inspire empathy in communities.

“The film wants to put audiences in these women’s shoes,” he says. “I want the film to be able to give people hope and show that we’re all capable of helping others.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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