Documentary Centerpiece - Wish Me Away
Bobbie Birleffi & Beverly Kopf (USA, 2011, 96 min.)
Location: Landmark's Century Centre Cinema
A sweet, feminine, God-fearing southern woman, Chely Wright is many things, including a bonafide country music sensation known for her hits “Shut Up and Drive” and “Single White Female.” But the award-winning performer is something else as well – a lesbian. Having spent most of her life lying to those closest to her (and often herself), Chely eventually opened her door to filmmakers Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf, who document the most intimate moments of Chely's life as she finally bares it all to friends and family, and eventually the public, in what Variety calls “an inspirational account of coming out.”
Perhaps more than any other musical genre, country music fans live and breathe the lifestyle associated with their music—religion, traditional values and social conservatism—a world quite at odds with much of queer culture. And though an open-minded Reverend reminds us “there's nobody quite as mean as people being mean for Jesus,” in many ways Chely's own internalized homophobia is a greater challenge than anything in Nashville. Wish Me Away's most moving scenes come in the raw home video footage that Chely never thought would see the light of day, and she struggles with her decision up until the moment she is telling the world on The Today Show.
Through it all, the audience is invited into the intimate world of a strong, ambitious woman who finds the strength not only to come out, but also become an advocate for the community.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature, Los Angeles Film Festival, and winner of the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary, Frameline 35 Festival, San Francisco.