Jonas and Chloe Crespi direct as he struggles to discover what it all means. The DVD is now available at the film website.
A friend lost
Just weeks before his friend Rob died in a motorcycle crash, Jonas began to see angels, demons, auras and visions. He confided in Rob almost every day. Now he must confront death and the reality of an afterlife.
“Odd geometries” of energy, light and shape come and go. Rooms grow very cold before spirits arrive. They want Jonas to tell everyone about them.
Angels offer the most beautiful visions. They are huge and have wings just like storybook images.
He meets with psychiatrist Richard Friedman and receives an MRI. “I don’t want people to think I’m a freak,” he confesses. His ability scares people. Doctors find nothing wrong with him.
Healer and author Abdi Assadi tells him that this is an opportunity to examine what’s happening and to see life’s possibilities. Assadi advises Jonas to keep meditating and not to try figuring it out.
Jonas meets with psychic researchers, a neurologist and spiritual teachers. What’s the purpose of the journey? When he asks God for guidance and direction, there seems to be no answer.
“Weird, beautiful and interesting”
Jonas’ girlfriend Mara Evans struggles with his new ability. Will it ever go away? Do they have to live with this forever? The two face despair and resistance.
Jonas and Mara meet with Rob’s mother Nina Brese. Nina held her son during his final moments. She’s convinced that there is life after death. “It makes you not scared to die,” she says.
Suffering prompts us to travel a spiritual path, Joan Halifax of the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe advises. As world systems collapse, we have the opportunity to transform them. “It takes a lot of courage to live in the world today,” she tells the couple.
Like so many of us, Jonas realizes he must look for answers within. He travels to Washington for a sweat lodge, fasting and vision quest under the guidance of Skokomish Nation leader Mark Colson.
Wake Up misses several opportunities. Jonas mentions that the spirits of Rob and Jonas’ grandmother visited him. Reenacting those visits would help us make more sense of the mystery, and strengthen the narrative.
Jonas is very low key. His exhaustion and resistance are evident. More watchable are skeptical Mara and an assortment of spiritual teachers.
It is good to meet Jonas and to witness his journey. Yet his deeply personal story needed professional acting to make it a more stirring film.
Wake Up tells a tremendous story. It deserves a remake. (3 out of 5 stars)
Wake Up / 2010 / NR / 1 hour, 37 min
Cast Overview: Jonas Elrod, Abdi Assadi, Mara Evans, Joan Halifax, J.Z. Knight, Stephan Schwartz, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
Directors: Jonas Elrod, Chloe Crespi
Genres: Documentary, Spirituality