The Q&A following last night’s Los Angeles Film Festival world premiere of Wish Me Away, a new documentary about the courageous decision by country singer Chely Wright to come out in 2010 as a lesbian, was really something. Audience members asking questions or making statements included former Family Ties star Meredith Baxter (“Has Random House editor Victoria Wilson seen the film yet?”) and singer Sophie B. Hawkins (“There’s art in every frame…”).
The superb movie, made by the award-winning female duo of Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf, relies on the narrative structure of a gradual countdown to Wright’s confessional May 2010 interviews on The Today Show, Oprah and in the pages of People magazine. Its behind-the-scenes look at a coordinated book and TV media campaign encompasses the aforementioned Wilson as well as celebrity publicist Howard Bragman and spiritual advisor Reverend Welton Gaddy.
Wright is an extremely charismatic and beautiful screen siren. But what really makes her movie sing are her two main family co-stars, dad Stan and sister Jennifer. Last night’s screening was the first time either one had seen a frame of Wish Me Away, and they spoke candidly during the Q&A about their immediate reactions.
The movie also goes behind the scenes in Nashville to revisit Wright’s rise to the top of the music charts and listing as one of country music’s 25 sexiest female stars. Wish Me Away is scheduled to screen twice more at LAFF but will next be shown Wednesday night at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco as part of the Frameline Film Festival. Audiences there and elsewhere are destined to cheer a documentary that is a little bit country and a whole lot heart and soul.
[Pictured (left to right): Wright and fiancée Lauren Blitzer, scheduled to be married August 20th in Connecticut.]
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