Feature-length documentary Wish Me Away is a personal and intimate look at Chely Wright, the first country music star to come out as gay. After a lifetime of hiding, she shatters cultural and religious stereotypes within Nashville, her conservative heartland family, and most importantly, herself.
Over a three-year period, award-winning filmmakers Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf followed Chely’s struggle – some of which was recorded on private video diaries – and her unfolding plan to come out publicly. Using interviews with Chely, her family, key players in Nashville and her management team, the film goes deep into Chely’s back story as an established country music star and then forward in verite scenes as she prepares to step into the media glare to reveal that she is gay. Finally, the film chronicles the aftermath of that decision in Nashville, her hometown and within the LGBT community.
Wish Me Away shows both the devastation of her own internalized homophobia, which led to Chely putting a gun in her mouth, and the transformational power of living an authentic life. It shows the struggles of being a Christian who happens to be gay, even within her own family. And it reveals how “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” has found its way into the culture of Nashville.
“A first-rate piece of documentary filmmaking" ~ Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter
“An alternately harrowing and triumphant documentary… lovely, raw and riveting.” ~ Steve Pond, The Wrap
“Fascinating… inspirational.” ~ Joe Leydon, Variety
For more information about the film and/or for an electronic press kit, please visit the WISH ME AWAY PRESS ROOM on the First Run Features website.
Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf have each had unique careers in the television and film industry. Birleffi began her career with Bill Moyers, went on to produce and direct independent docs and won an Emmy for a Frontline documentary called Men Who Molest, one of the first films to show molesters without shadow. Kopf had a long career in Hollywood as an entertainment talent executive and producer, working with Maria Shriver at NBC News and later becoming the Emmy-award winning head writer of The View.
Together they have completed numerous non-fiction projects since forming their production company in 2000 including Be Real: Stories from Queer America. The documentary, which celebrates the lives of six everyday heroes in the LGBTcommunity from cities around the country, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006.
As a team, they have produced, directed and written critically acclaimed and highly rated documentary programming, biographies and specials for PBS, NBC, A&E, Bravo, Court TV, Lifetime, TLC, VH1, US NEWS & WORLD REPORT and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. They have also collaborated on several projects with Tony Award winning director Julie Taymor, including behind the scenes featurettes for Across the Universe, released by Sony Pictures.
Currently, they are producing, directing, and writing a series of 40 short portraits of each of the Broadway Theaters for the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in New York City. The series, “Spotlight on Broadway,” will have its premiere in the fall of 2013.
Executive Producers: Rhonda Eiffe, Richard Bever, Fletcher Foster
Co-Executive Producers: Laverne Berry, Ann Wallentine, Harriet Reynolds, Wendy L. Wood, Liz Armstrong, Jane Bradford Armstrong
Edited by: Lisa Palattella