DENTON – Portraying a mother who is desperate to understand and cope with her son’s mental illness, actress and Texas Woman’s University alumna Cheryl Allison stars in the new film NO LETTING GO. The movie, based on a true story, is in limited release in New York and Los Angeles now, and it will make its cable on-demand debut March 30 in the United States and Canada.
NO LETTING GO aims to show how families are affected by mental illness, and March 30 is World Bipolar Day, a film press release stated.
Allison, a Dallas resident and a Fort Worth native, has received several awards for her role of Catherine Spencer in the feature film, including Best Leading Actress (Southampton International Film Festival in the United Kingdom) and Best Lead Actress in a Feature Film (Sydney Indie Film Festival in Australia). Her co-stars include Richard Burgi (“Desperate Housewives”), Kathy Najimy (SISTER ACT), Janet Hubert (“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) and Alysia Reiner (“Orange is the New Black”).
Allison’s character is based on Randi Silverman, whose family struggled with their middle son’s increasing erratic behavior and emotional instability. Silverman co-wrote the screenplay and co-produced NO LETTING GO, which is based on the award-winning short film ILLNESS that she associate produced, advising on both the screenplay and the filming and co-producing; Silverman will be in Dallas with Allison later this month for World Bipolar Day. Allison also played Silverman in ILLNESS, which was filmed in 2013.
Based on the awards and reception of ILLNESS, funding was received to make the feature-length NO LETTING GO. The movie was filmed in 18 days in 2014 in New York.
“I realized early on that this film and my role give a voice to so many parents, particularly mothers …,” Allison stated in the release. “I felt a huge responsibility to represent them and, of course, Randi in an authentic and truthful way.”
IndieFEST Film Awards called Allison’s portrayal in NO LETTING GO a “break-out performance.” She also received:
- Award of Excellence for Leading Actress (Accolade Global Film Competition, 2015)
- Best Leading Actress for ILLNESS (Southampton International Film Festival in the United Kingdom, 2013)
- Best Actress in a Short Film for ILLNESS (Ohio Independent Film Festival, 2013)
- Best Actress in a Short Film – Nomination for ILLNESS (Long Beach International Film Festival, 2014)
Allison has performed in Broadway plays, regional theater and film and television for more than 20 years. She also has performed throughout North America and Japan in several Broadway tours, as well as the Kennedy Center.
Locally, Allison is a Casa Manana favorite, having performed in six shows in the historic venue. In a recent performance of “Steel Magnolias” opposite Ruta Lee, Allison played Truvy, for which she received a Dallas BroadwayWorld award.
Allison graduated from TWU in Denton with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in voice performance and acting.
Together with her co-producers, Carina Rush and Jonathan Bucari, Silverman worked to create a feature film to show how families struggle with mental illnesses. Her middle son, Eli, was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder at a young age. (Silverman’s youngest son, Noah, plays “Tim,” a fictionalized version of his older brother, Eli, in the film.)
Silverman and Bucari won Best Screenplay award for NO LETTING GO at the Southampton International Film Festival in the United Kingdom.
Scenes from NO LETTING GO: