This provocative documentary tracks the emotional and trailblazing journey of country music star Chely Wright as she risks everything – stardom, friends and family -- in her determination to live what she calls an “authentic life.”
In the process of becoming Nashville’s first-ever openly gay singer/songwriter, Wright’s secrets, lies and internal struggles paint a touching portrait of an artist finally coming into her own. The film features interviews with Wright’s friends, family, confidants, and both LGBT activists and music industry insiders. The singer’s own private video diaries are also prominently featured. WISH ME AWAY’S footage was culled over a three-year period, as award-winning filmmakers Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf were given exclusive access to Chely’s struggles and ultimate triumph.
That arc of this storyline chronicles both the pain of her own internalized homophobia (at one point Chely points a gun in her mouth) as well as the transformational power of living honestly. Chely eventually finds her “authentic” self after putting her carefully choreographed coming-out plan into action, a life-affirming sequence that contrasts bitterly with conflicting responses from Nashville’s power brokers.
In the end, Wright’s unique journey is both personal and public, intimate and painful, as an entire lifetime of hiding is revealed under the heavy glare of bright lights. Wright’s story demolishes cultural and religious stereotypes both in the country music industry as well as within her own conservative family. And maybe best of all, you don’t have to like country music to admire this one-of-a-kind documentary. —David Alire Garcia