A first look at the Chely Wright documentary “Wish Me Away”

 
 

AE: Has Chely seen the film yet?
BB: She’s going to see it in January.

BK: She’s in such a different place in her life now that she knows that seeing the film will be emotional. She wants to get past the holidays, which makes perfect sense. She’s happy. She’s really doing it. She’s doing what she said she would.

AE: What impresses you most about what Chely has done since you stopped filming?
BK: She is really becoming the activist and spokesperson she said she wanted to be. She is becoming an advocate and spokesperson for gay rights.

BB: I thought she might change, but she is still the same person. She is her own person. She’s still the same Chely, only a lot happier. I find that terrific.

BK: Another amazing thing is that she used the time before she came out to educate herself. In the film, we get inside that process and you see how she changed in terms of how she felt about being gay and the gay community and the diversity in the community.

Chely Wright

photo by Tanya Braganti

AE: While filming, did you have to stop yourself from interfering and just allow her to find her own process?
BB: Sometimes we wanted to warn her about what could happen to her, but we had to stop ourselves. We knew that Chely’s process needed to remain her process, not what we thought that process should be.

AE: What was the most rewarding part of making the film?
BB: The most rewarding part of making the film was knowing that we were making something that will forever be a positive contribution to the history of gay life in America; to the evolution of our understanding of what it means to be gay and lesbian; and to an increased insight into the damaging effects of fear and hiding.

BK: For me, the most rewarding part was experiencing the synergy between what was going on in the world and the film we were making: the rash of teen suicides, the fight over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – I kept thinking, this film is coming out at the perfect moment to impact the history unfolding around us.

AE: The most challenging?
BK: The most challenging part for us was the play against time: can we raise enough funds to finish the film in a timely manner? We are telling an unfolding story that we followed in real time — a story that we then had to carefully deconstruct and put back together again with our own creativity and vision.

AE: What about working together as a couple?
BB: We have always found that working creatively as a couple comes easily to us. But this was the most challenging project we’ve ever done together because it consumed our lives and we could never get away from it even when we tried – for vacations or ‘date nights’ the film was always with us.

Bobbie and Beverly

photo by Tanya Braganti

AE: What do you think will surprise viewers most when they see the film?
BB: I think viewers will be surprised and amazed by Chely’s vulnerability and bravery and willingness to show her pain. Also, the response from her family has surprises.

AE: What is your hope for the film?
BB: My hope isn’t just that it’s on television but that it has a life and goes into community centers and schools and that it will help heal other people. I hope the film will get people to think rather than tell people what to think. In the end I believe that the tone of the film reflects the heart of the character in the film. Chely is not a hard-edged person. She has a softness to her but also a strength that I think is captured in the film. It’s not an edgy dark film.

AE: Why is this film important now?
BK: Look around. In the midst of a tumultuous political climate that has incited polarizing debates about the civil rights of the LGBT community, here is someone who risked everything that was important to her — to live her authentic life.

BB: Everyone, gay and straight, can identify with hiding and the devastating impact it has on one’s life. Seeing Chely’s courage to come forward and the healing it gave her will help other people heal.

AE: Why should someone who has read Chely’s book and seen her on Oprah and Ellen want to watch this film?
BK: The film is really a journey. You go on a journey with her, through the ups and downs. You come out at the end and you’ve had an emotional experience that hopefully stays with you. That’s what a good film does.

BB: The film goes beyond the time frame of the book and is our view of Chely’s life. It is also our documentation of her process in preparing to come out.

BK: In my entire career of working with celebrities, I have never seen one more willing to reveal what it’s like to be in the public eye while hiding who you really are.

AE: Do you have any information on how or when the film might be released?
BB: We are working on all platforms for a 2011 release. We are talking to broadcasters and theatrical distributors, as well as various organizations about community and advocacy screenings.

BK: We’re hoping to have the film screened in Kansas, Nashville and as many communities as possible. We’re looking for the film to be seen by the widest possible audience.

AE: You are still in the process of raising funds to finish the film. What still needs to be done?
BK: Our first online fund raising campaign at indiegogo.com was tremendously successful and we raised enough to pay for the final color correcting of the video. We are now seeking funds for the audio mix, music licensing and graphics. While we have creative control, we also have the sole responsibility for raising the money to make the film — a daunting task! This film has been made possible because of the generosity of the gay community and because individuals were willing to invest in a project that could open hearts and minds.

BB: People think that just because the film is edited that it’s done, but completion is the most expensive process. Doing an online campaign was a complete revelation to me. I felt like we had been isolated and now there is a community around us. These are not just donors and funders, this is a team.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation at the Wish Me Away online fundraising site. To get updates on the film, visit the official website,
www.wishmeawaydoc.com.

Pages: 1 2
 
 

Tags: , , , , ,