The life and death of 19-year-old North Toronto resident Carley Allison are being brought to the big screen via the film Kiss and Cry.
Allison battled a rare form of cancer, clear cell sarcoma, went through rounds of chemotherapy and recovered from a tracheotomy. She blogged about her ordeal, and helped herself through music.
Videos of her performances can still be seen on YouTube, including her performance of the Canadian national anthem at a Toronto Maple Leafs game. Carley was an accomplished figure skater, setting her sights on Sochi, and was a student at Bayview Glen.
Carley died on March 31, 2015, and sister Riley, now 23, admits the film was a tough decision for her family to make. But Kiss and Cry has been a blessing.
“We’re thrilled with the movie. It’s brutal to watch, just because it’s Carley’s story, but it’s beautifully done, and we got really lucky — the people of the crew were very kind to us and sensitive,” Riley Allison said. “The process was really tough. A lot of mixed emotions.”
Best friend and Degrassi actress Sarah Fisher pitched her friend’s tale and romance with John Servinis to movie producers. She portrays Carley in the film, due in theatres later this month.
Canadian chanteuse Chantal Kreviazuk plays the Allisons’ matriarch, May, and Sergio Di Zio plays father Mark. Brittany Bristow and Julia Tomasone play Riley and the youngest sister Samantha, respectively.
Amid the production, it never once occurred to the family that this would be something their daughter and sister would oppose.
“If you knew Carley, this falls in line with all the things that came along with being Carley,” Riley said. “She was born a star, as Sarah always said. She was a performer.”
Music written and composed by Carley has made its way into the film, including the song “I Love You”.
“It still brings us to tears. It’s a song she wrote for a very special boy. She wrote tons of music. We have it all at home,” Riley said. “Every minute she had would be spent at the piano, learning to play, putting together chords to her songs.”