Episode three: Alan Takes Control

Alan Zweig is a documentary filmmaker and self-described "old dad". He has a ton of problems around the need to be in control, but at this sleepover he’s forced to let go. What will he hang onto when his difficulties are unleashed in the hotel room?

Episode three: Alan Takes Control

7 years ago
Duration 0:31
Alan Zweig has a bunch of issues around the need for control, symbolised by his striped, lumpy pillow.

Hilariously cranky and surprisingly sweet, Alan Zweig is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, who makes movies that deal with contentious and difficult people, kind of like himself.

He's a senior citizen and self-described "old dad", who had his first child later in life.

Alan suffers from "foot-in-mouth disease", he can't help but speak his mind, even when it gets him in trouble. He can be crotchety, stubborn, and rude, but I sense tenderness beneath his bluster, which is why I invited him to sleep over.

When it's Alan's turn to bring up a problem he's struggling with, he starts by presenting an innocuous object: a flat, striped, lumpy pillow. One thing leads to another and soon we're saddled with a constellation of overwhelming difficulties around issues of control. Who would have thought a thirty-year-old pillow could contain a life's worth of problems?

In a time when we resort to ticking boxes to slot people into categories, Alan's been boxed into "straight white cis male", a label that comes with a kind of privilege that Sleepover guest, Scaachi Koul, often calls out in her journalism.

I'm curious to see how Alan and Scaachi, with their seemingly opposing views, get along while stuck inside a hotel room together. The conversation clearly pushes his buttons, but Alan surrenders to the process. Thrown into the mix is precocious and bright eight-year-old Charlie McGettigan. Will these strangers help or hinder each other?

Sook-Yin Lee


Alan Zweig has a bunch of issues around the need for control, symbolised by his striped, lumpy pillow. (Adam Litovitz)
Charlie looks out at the city as the buildings begin to light up. (Adam Litovitz )
Alright Alan, it is your turn to share! (Adam Litovitz)
Enough talking, PILLOW FIGHT! (Adam Litovitz )
Alan retaliates. ( Adam Litovitz )
Scaachi is ready for lights out. ( Adam Litovitz and Sook-Yin Lee)
Good morning gang! (Sook-Yin Lee)
A bit more sharing in the morning hours. (Adam Litovitz)
Waking up for Scaachi mean checking her phone. (Sook-Yin Lee )
You have some wild morning hair Sook-Yin. (Adam Litovitz)
Your turn to tame that hair Charlie. (Sook-Yin Lee)
Low energy door and a high energy girl. (Sook-Yin Lee )
More morning sharing. (Adam Litovitz)
Alan takes a last look out the window, as Charlie gets ready to leave. (Adam Litovitz )
Last minute lobby reflections with Charlie. (Craig Desson)
Now it's Alan's turn. (Craig Desson )
We can't forget about Scaachi. (Craig Desson )
Alright everyone, it is time to go! Thanks for a great Sleepover. (Craig Desson )