Award-winning filmmakers Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf’s documentary Wish Me Away charts the emotional journey of country music star Chely Wright as she risks her career, family and image in an attempt to live an “authentic life” as an openly gay woman. Birleffi and Kopf, both professional and personal partners, spent three years on the film, which charts Wright’s “pursuit and rise to fame in Nashville, a hidden network of secrets and lies, her emotional unraveling and eventual rebirth.” Featuring interviews with Wright’s friends, family, confidants and industry insiders, the film also includes Wright’s private video diaries.
We visited the filmmakers at their Manhattan studio to discuss the process of making the film and working with Wright, why the documentary is relevant in today’s political climate, and their latest fundraising efforts to finish the film.
Heather Aimee O’Neill talks to filmmakers Beverly Kopf and Bobbie Birleffi
AfterEllen.com: What was the genesis of Wish Me Away?
AE: Was it difficult to balance your developing friendship with Chely and remain objective filmmakers?
BB: I’ve been making documentaries for over twenties years. Each situation is different. There are no rules, but I knew that our job as filmmakers was to protect the integrity of the film wherever that took us.
AE: Was Nashville receptive to your attempts to get interviews?
BK: It is curious that Chely is still the only country music star to ever come out. Don’t you think?
AE: I do. Speaking of which, does Chely’s music influence or play a part in the film?
BB: Beverly and I studied Chely’s music, and were impressed by how her songs told important parts of her life. They are very much a character in the film.
AE: What role does Chely’s family play in the film?
AE: I imagine her family went on their own journey with her very public coming out.
AE: What about the men in Chely’s life during those closeted years? Does the film tackle that?
AE: What can you tell us about the exclusive clip you’ve shared with us?
International viewers can watch the clip here.