Chely Wright Doc "Wish Me Away" Finds U.S. Home

First Run Features announced today its acquisition of the multiple award-winning documentary WISH ME AWAY from filmmakers Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf. First Run is planning a Spring 2012 theatrical launch with VOD, home video and television to follow. The deal was negotiated by Film Sales Company head Andrew Herwitz and First Run's Marc Mauceri.

WISH ME AWAY tells the story of 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, the filmmakers were given extraordinary access to Chely's struggle and her unfolding plan to come out publicly. Using interviews with Chely, her family, key players in Nashville and her management team, and Chely's intimate private video diaries, the film goes deep into her back story as an established country music star and then forward as she prepares to step into the national media glare to reveal that she is gay. Chronicling the aftermath of that decision in her hometown of Nashville and within the larger LGBT community, WISH ME AWAY reveals 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. And it reveals how "Don't Ask Don't Tell" has found it's way into the culture of Nashville.

"This redemptive and inspiring true story shows how one brave soul risks her career, family, fame and fortune, so that she can be true to herself. It is drama of the highest order," said First Run's president, Seymour Wishman, in a statement. "We're proud to be working with Bobbie and Beverly to bring Chely's story to audiences in North America."

"From the beginning, our vision has been to take this film not only to urban audiences, but to small towns in the heartland, the South, the West, and across the country," said Birleffi and Kopf. "As they did for Dan Karslake's FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO, we're confident First Run will make our film available to people everywhere, and we look forward to working with them."

WISH ME AWAY has so far been honored with the Jury Award at the Los Angeles Film festival, the Award for Outstanding Documentary Feature at Frameline, The San Francisco LGBT Film Festival, and the Audience Award at the Nashville Film Festival, among many others.

Founded in 1979, First Run Features is one of American's notable distributors of documentary and foreign films. Recent releases include DA Pennebaker's and Chris Hegedus's KINGS OF PASTRY, Ken Bowser's PHIL OCHS: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE, Joe Berlinger's CRUDE, and Judith Ehrlich's and Rick Goldsmith's Academy Award-nominated THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS. NEWS