"The day before my mother passed, I wrote her a message. Similar to the character in the movie, we really didn't talk that much, we weren't super-duper close. I just kind of felt compelled to hit her up," he said.
He thanked her for helping to support him financially, and told her he loved her. And in the last line of his e-mail, he added that he was "working on something big, and that if it goes well, hopefully I'd be able to buy her that house that I wasn't able to buy her back when I was playing ball. "
Cherry's mother responded, and the next day after their exchange, she died at 57 of a heart attack. That, he said, was really what pushed him to see "The Last Fall" through.
At the time, Cherry said, "The Last Fall" was going to be "ultra-low-budget." After his mother passed, he was able to use most of her life insurance money to co-finance the project along with executive producer (and NFL player) Ellis Hobbs. "In a way," Cherry said, his mother "sacrificed herself so that I can live out a dream."
Unfortunately, that was just the first challenge for Cherry. Ten minutes following their last SXSW screening, Cherry received word that his father, who'd been in poor health, had also died.
With his first movie bowing in theatrical release in Los Angeles today and headed for DVD release on January 15, Cherry's already working on his next projects, one of which will revisit the world of football.
"You definitely have to have a strong faith in God to try to get through, because this filmmaking thing, this is 10 times harder than trying to make it into NFL," Cherry said. "Seriously. It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life."