KO Review Kiss & Cry
Kiss and Cryis a film directed bySean Cisternaabout 18 year old Carley Allison (played bySarah Fisherknown for Degrassi: Next Generation) who is diagnosed with arare (1 in 3.5 billion) type of cancercalled Clear Cell Sarcoma. Carley was a promising figure skater and singer who fought long and hard to overcome her illness. Based on a true story, Olympic figure skating hopeful and up-and-coming youtube singing phenomenon Carley keeps her spirits high through surgery, chemotherapy and unfortunate diagnosis that her cancer is spreading.
Carley shares her journey in an intimate audience to camera dialogue explaining her current physical conditions as a result of her cancer and treatment. The story evolves around her mother (played by Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk), father (played bySergio Di Zio), two sisters (played by Julia Tomasone and Brittany Bristow) and her adorably sweet boyfriend John (played by Luke Bilyk) who offer her support during the advancement of her cancer.
Kiss and Cryis a great film for a younger millennial audience (just be advised there is some adult language), anyone who has be affected by cancer and anyone up for a feel good film. Going into this film, having only seen the trailer, I expected I would feel massive sadness watching Kiss & Cry. That was absolutely not the case. Carley was a pure inspiration illuminating how beautiful life is. Her beautiful voice, quirky sense of humour and warm smile kept her strong until her last breath.
The soundtrack to this film creates a contemporary vibe featuring tracks by City & Colour, Chantal Kreviazuk and Lights. I hope there will be a soundtrack released on itunes.
Kiss & Crygets its title from the box area where figure skaters go to get their scores after they have competed. “It’s not about what happens when you are in the box. Just how many times you keep putting yourself out there for marks and keep coming back no matter what the results are”- Carley Allison.
Don’t miss Kiss & Cry at Calgary International Film Festival on Monday September 26, 2016 at 6:45pm at Cineplex Eau Claire and Sunday October 2, 2016 at 2:15pm at Cineplex Eau Claire. To purchase tickets please visitcalgaryfilm.com.
I was lucky enough to sit down with filmmakerSeanCisternato ask him questions about his filmKiss & Cryand his own journey to becoming filmmaker…
KO: Since Kiss & Cry is based on a true story, what role did an actual footage of Carley play in the making of this film?
SC: We used it to match the shots with Sarah, to keep it as close as we could to her life.
KO: Why didn’t you show the actual footage from YouTube that Carley posted of her singing that went viral?
SC: The rights to the song were a factor and we wanted to have Sarah playing Carley to keep continuity. (It’s here below if you want to watch it)
KO: Why did you have Carley speaking directly to the audience outside her film world when talking about her treatment?
SC: Carley had ablogwhere she documented her treatment. We wanted to use excerpts from her blog to explain what was happening to Carley in her own words. We really wanted to link her words to the audience.
KO: During Carley’s operation to remove her cancer, when the anesthetic didn’t work, why did you choose to show the drowning montage?
SC: We wanted to created a visual representation of what Carley was feeling. It was a really difficult scene to film for Sarah because there was water being poured on her face and she couldn’t breathe, so when she was gasping for breath, that was for real.
KO: There are a few scenes in the film where animation is used (ie. the whiteboard when Carley couldn’t talk and when she explains the advancement of her cancer diagnosis). Why did you choose to portray those scenes in that way.
SC: We wanted represent visually what happens inside the body when Carley was diagnosed with Clear Cell Sarcoma. It’s not a common type of cancer, so without illustrating it visually, it would have been hard to convey.
KO: What are your hopes for the release of this film? What do you hope it conveys to people who have been affected by cancer?
SC:Kiss & Crywill continue on the film festival circuit. We want to spread Carley’s message and motto to “always smile”. Carley was such a positive person. We partner with different local charities in the festivals where the film screens. In Calgary we partnered withKids Cancer Care. We would like to do a wide release of the film February 4, 2017 on World Cancer Day. Carley’s Angel foundation was founded in memory of Carley and is dedicated in raising awareness and funds for alternative care for families dealing with rare cancers. Carley’s necklaces and braceletes for sale on her siteteamcarley.ca will be sold at some of the screenings where 100% of the profits go to Carley’s Angels Foundation.
KO: How did you become a filmmaker?
SC: I graduated from York University’s Film and Video program in Toronto. Funny story, my first film job was on the PBS Kids show Ricky’s Room, I worked on many different things there from the art department, to writing and directing. I saw a posting in the school and grabbed all the ads, then went for the interview and landed the job. In 2014, I directed Full Out, the true story of Ariana Berlin, a California gymnast and Olympic hopeful whose dreams were shattered after a debilitating car accident. Sarah Fisher was an actress in that film as well.
KO: What is your earliest “film” memory that evoked the feelings inside you?
SC: When I was four years old, I saw E.T. and I still remember how powerful that film was, and the emotions I had leaving the theatre.
KO: What is your favorite movie of all time?
SC: The film The Exorcist. It is in its pure form good versus evil and employes every aspect of filmmaking.