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I’m Wanita – Hot Docs 2021

I’m Wanita – Hot Docs 2021

Synopsis:
I’m Wanita is the story of a renegade country music singer from Tamworth, Australia, hell-bent on realising her childhood dreams of stardom. Self-crowned as ‘Australia’s Queen of Honky Tonk”, Wanita is still waiting for the recognition she knows she deserves. Wanita embarks on a quest to record an album in the country music Mecca of Nashville, but her inability to toe the line threatens to derail her plans – can she keep her date with destiny?
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Australia's “Queen of Honky Tonk” sets off to fulfil her dream of recording in Nashville in . Wanita is a 47-year-old country music singer based in Tamworth, Australia, who has been spending the past 25 years trying to fulfil her dream of being a star like her idol Loretta Lynn. With the help of her friend and manager Gleny Rae Virus and guitarist Archer, Wanita flies to America to record in locations such as New Orleans and Memphis' Sun Studios, with her ultimate destination being Nashville, where she'll record an album with Grammy-nominated producer Billy Yates.

Directed by Matthew Walker, I'm Wanita is a documentary about Australia's self-proclaimed “Queen of Honky Tonk,” who is still waiting for the recognition she believes that she deserves. Diagnosed on the Autistic spectrum at a young age, Wanita is undoubtedly a talented country singer, but she has a personality that can be difficult to get along with. Doing sex work to pay the bills and having a tumultuous relationship with her 72-year-old Turkish husband, the marriage to whom contributed to her estrangement from her daughter, Wanita sees her trip to Nashville as her opportunity to finally hit the big time.

As someone of the Autistic spectrum myself, there is a scene late in I'm Wanita that I greatly empathized with, where Wanita has finally started recording in Nashville and she just looks like a deer in the headlights. In fact, I responded more to I'm Wanita as a character study more than simply a documentary about a country music singer. Wanita's singing talents are repeatedly contrasted with her very brash personality and desire to help out anyone she sees in need, with her guitarist Archer describing her at one point as “Drunken Mother Teresa”. It is for this reason, I found I'm Wanita to be a fascinating watch.

I'm Wanita is streaming as part of the 2021 Hot Docs Film Festival


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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