By Brian Brooks | Indiewire June 28, 2011 at 4:33AM
Bobbie Birleffi & Beverly Kopf's "Wish Me Away" took the award for Outstanding Documentary Feature, while "The Evening Dress" by Myriam Aziza won the Frameline35 Outstanding First Feature prize. In Audience Awards, Stu Maddux's "Gen Silent" won the AT&T Audience Award for Best Documentary and French director Céline Sciamma took the Frameline35 AT&T Audience Award, Best Feature nod for "Tomboy." Andrew Haigh's "Weekend," meanwhile won the festival's "Volunteer of the Year award."
"When we started this project, we knew it was going to be hard," "Wish Me Away" director Bobbie Birleffi noted during the film's well-received screening late last week at the historic Castro Theater in San Francisco. "We had the idea that the world would open their hearts with this film, that that was our guiding light."
The doc is the story of popular country singer Chely Wright who lived in the closet even as she shot to fame in the '90s with songs like "Shut Up and Drive." The film looks back at her career and follows the singer as she prepares for her public coming out on the Today show and Oprah. The film played as a Centerpiece at the event to a packed theater, which gave Wright and the filmmakers a long standing ovation.
"The minute I decided to come out in 2007, the right people came into my life," Wright said from the stage at Frameline. "I knew the [filmmakers] would handle this story with sensitivity. In telling my story, I know that I'm really 'just like you,'" she added to thunderous applause.
"People see her through the movie and relate to her journey and what she had to go through," Frameline's Jennifer Morris told indieWIRE during the festival recently. "They really related to her through the film and how the filmmakers chose to tell it. They really respond to that and understand."
Frameline, the world's oldest LGBT film event, opened June 16 with Rashaad Ernesto Green's "Gun Hill Road" and closed with Geoffrey Sax's "Christopher and His Kind."
The list of Frameline 35 winners:
Frameline Award: Margaret Cho
Frameline35 Outstanding Documentary Feature: "Wish Me Away directors Bobbie Birleffi & Beverly Kopf
Honorable Mention for Documentary Feature: "Hit So Hard" director P. David Ebersole
Frameline35 Outstanding First Feature: "The Evening Dress" director Myriam Aziza
Honorable Mention for the First Feature: "Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same" director Madeleine Olnek
Frameline35 AT&T Audience Award, Best Documentary: "Gen Silent" director Stu Maddux
Frameline35 AT&T Audience Award, Best Feature: "Tomboy" director Céline Sciamma
Frameline35 AT&T Audience Award, Best Short: "BaldGuy (Skalla Mann)" director Maria Block
Volunteer of the Year Award: "Weekend" director Andrew Haigh