With more than 30 years of showbiz under her belt, well-known theatre personality Anne Power explores what it means to turn 50 and be side-lined in a brave, original and funny new film To The Power Of Anne, which opens in cinemas on 8 March, 2013.
"I was an A-list celebrity in the 1980s and 90s," Power said. "I was married to Bill Flynn who was famous and much loved. I starred in feature films, performed cabaret and appeared on stage. I was the darling of the entertainment world. Then I turned 50 and it all stopped. I was relegated to the D-list and literally had to sing for my supper. But I've refused to lose hope, and that's what the film is all about."
To The Power of Anne is a film in the faux-reality genre, which tracks her struggle to revive her audience and claw her way back into the limelight. It shows what happens when Power has a reality television crew assigned to her as she auditions for the lead in a new theatrical production, Woman Of A Certain Age.
But with reality comes truth, and sometimes truth can be both embarrassing and painful, given the harsh world of show business. Power struggles with money, lost fame, and the fear of ageing and feeling irrelevant, which are so universal to women the world over.
An indictment of the theatre, ageism and sexism
"To the Power of Anne is something new and fresh," said Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution, which is distributing the film locally. "Like Anne herself, it's a true original. The film takes the reality genre and turns it on its head, combining great performances from a hugely talented cast and a free-flowing narrative that takes us on an emotional musical roller-coaster ride as Anne fights to survive. An indictment of the theatre, ageism and sexism, this is just the kind of film South African women have been waiting for."
The film's eclectic cast of seasoned screen veterans includes Terence Bridgett, Louise Saint-Claire, Dawn Lindberg and Des Lindberg. It also stars Power's son Ryan Flynn, who has followed his parents into the world of entertainment and is a screen and stage presence to be reckoned with.
To the Power of Anne was written and directed by Durban-born Robert Haynes, who has been working in the television industry for the last 18 years. He has edited and post-produced many major international reality formats for South African television, including SA's Got Talent, Strictly Come Dancing, and Idols.
"The faux-reality genre was the perfect springboard for my directorial feature film debut," said Haynes. "The story of the film itself was really born out of necessity and frustration, as I too feel that the South African entertainment industry is obsessed with youth. I knew that Anne would be the perfect women for the role and I wrote it expressly to her strengths. She delivers a powerhouse performance that is understated and nuanced, while also being equally tongue-in-cheek and heart-wrenching."
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