Waking Life is a 2001 American adult animated docufiction film, directed by Richard Linklater. It is the first animated film released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, and to date is the only animated film released by Fox Searchlight, though will be joined by upcoming stop-motion film Isle of Dogs. The film explores a wide range of philosophical issues including the nature of reality, dreams, consciousness, the meaning of life, free will, and existentialism. Waking Life is centered on a young man who wanders through a succession of dream-like realities wherein he encounters a series of individuals who engage in insightful philosophical discussions.
The film was entirely rotoscoped, although it was shot using digital video of live actors with a team of artists drawing stylized lines and colors over each frame with computers, rather than being filmed and traced onto cells on a light box. The film contains several parallels to Linklater's 1991 film Slacker. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprise their characters from Before Sunrise in one scene. Waking Life premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.