Chama played by Melissa Barrera. Courtesy of Bold Futures

NY HBO Latino Film Festival – Winner of Best Film
Las Cruces International Film Festival – Winner of Best Film & Grand Jury Prize
Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival – Winner of Best Editing
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival – Winner of Best Film
Ojai International Film Festival – Honorable Mention Best Director
Seattle Latino Film Festival – Honorable Mention Best Film, Best Director


This Reviewer’s Say

A viscerally gripping, 145-minute drama with scenes of incredible intensity, many searing, about Chama, a single mom in her early 20s, played by Melissa Barrera who is a system-impacted woman, teetering on the edge of an abyss.

Chama epitomizes the real world experiences of women who are literally and figuratively tripped up in the wombs of their addicted, destitute moms before they are even born, that they are destined to repeat their mom’s failures, crimes and follies no matter how hard they try not to.

Because of the filmmakers’ inimitable cinematic prowess, Chama and the women’s stories are told with an astonishing verisimilitude yet without audiences being slam-dunked by the harrowing and grim happenstances occurring on the screen because of the cinematic prism created by the filmmakers.

Through that prism, audiences are drawn into a gripping drama that allows them to see, feel, experience and explore the complex human torment caused by trauma, substance abuse and poor parenting in New Mexico.

ALL THE WORLD IS SLEEPING has a kaleidoscopic feel because we are exposed to characters’ thoughts, feelings, perceptions, fantasies and dreams. And there are scenes with Chama narrating directly to the audience about what is happening to her.

ALL THE WORLD IS SLEEPING also has the feel of a documentary film, and there are scenes most certainly surrealistic as well as imbued with magic realism.

The 2023 Academy Awards still reverberates, causing many of us cinephiles, film connoisseurs and aficionados wondering why can’t we see more movies like ALL THE WORLD IS SLEEPING celebrated at the ceremonies.

Chama played by Melissa Barrera – in one of several dreamlike scenes rife with symbolism. Courtesy of Bold Futures

The Filmmakers’ Say About Their Incredible Movie

Edited for Style of Course

Chama is a young woman in her early 20s living in New Mexico, trying to have a life than her mother. Yet, she succumbs to the same cycle of generational addiction and that threatens to harm  Chama’s daughter Nevah played by Adilynn Menendez. Chama deceives herself into believing that she can raise and provide for Nevah.

Chama tries to keep it all together yet she overdoses and that causes her life to spiral out of control. Nevah is taken away from her by the authorities because Chama is ruled an unfit mom. Can she rise to the occasion?  Can she deal with her past to fight to have a future? Can she rightfully earn her daughter back?



In 2017 a reproductive justice based non-profit, Bold Futures NM, gathered 7 system-impacted women with a history of substance use and pregnancy to create an artistic medium that would explore the complexities of trauma, substance use and parenting in New Mexico. Over the course of several months and hours of conversation and community building, the insight derived through this facilitated group process evolved into the foundation of an unlikely feature film highlighting characters with authenticity and heart.

This unique film was created with the aim of pushing back against the stigma faced by pregnant women and people living through addiction. ALL THE WORLD IS SLEEPING sheds light on the realities of addiction and the resources that are so desperately needed for families living in its cycles of addiction.

ALL THE WORLD IS SLEEPING centers on the complex role of motherhood, addresses generational cycles of addiction and beautifully highlights a community that is rarely represented in films. As a filmmaker whose own life has been scarred by addiction, Director-Producer Ryan Lacen helped bring a unique cinematic lens while shaping these stories to create a film that would feel both singularly raw and universally connected. 

Chama played by Melissa Barrera. Courtesy of Bold Futures


Chama played by Melissa Barrera; Nevah, her daughter, played by Adilynn Menendez. Courtesy of Bold Futures

The film’s main character, Chama, played by the talented actress Melissa Barrera, is an imaginative composite of the seven women that encompasses elements of their bravery and struggles all while exposing the arduous circumstances they have endured. Barrera, along with co-star Jackie Cruz, worked with the mothers on and off set to authentically capture and represent their truth.

Throughout production and post-production, the seven mothers remained an integral part of guiding the film to completion. This film is an extraordinary collaboration merging the worlds of non-profit grit and movie glamour all while working alongside a community eager to see their story represented on the big screen.



Created and Presented by Bold Futures
Directed by Ryan Lacen
Story Created by Jade Sanchez, Doralee Urban, Myra Salazar, Patricia Marez, Carly Hicks, Kayleigh Smith, Malissa Trujillo
Executive Produced by Micaela Lara Cadena, Charlene Bencomo, Denicia Cadena, Esperanza Dodge, Tannia Esparza
Co Produced by Kat Sanchez, Naomie Germain
Produced by Ian Simon P.G.A, Ryan Lacen P.G.A, Sonja Mereu, Anthony Baldino

Melissa Barrera, Kristen Gutoskie, Lisandra Tena, Luis Bordonada, with Jackie Cruz and Jorge Garcia


Gregg W. Morris can be reached at,