To The Power of Anne, a film in the faux-reality genre, tracks aging stage actress Anne Power's struggle to revive her career and claw her way back into the limelight. The film 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.
"Comedy is at the heart of this film," says director Robert Haynes. "My preference is for comedy that is awkward and irreverent, in the vein of the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. To the Power of Anne is similarly a semi-improvised comedy based loosely on Anne's life and personality as a star, and designed to poke a bit of fun at her. Another series that inspired me during the making of this film was Modern Family, which is also presented in mockumentary style, with the characters frequently talking to the camera."
Power herself takes the lead in the film and stars as herself - one of South Africa's most well-known theatre personalities, deftly and sometimes poignantly exploring what it means to turn 50 and be sidelined. She is supported by sitcom darling Terence Bridgett, who has starred in Isidingo, 7de Laan, Backstage, Zero Tolerance, Snitch, The Lab, and the Canadian co-production, Jozi H. He has also appeared in a number of international feature films.
"Terence is known as a bit of a soap slut," says Haynes. "He is in fact a delight to work with because he has had so much experience and is extremely professional. He also has an amazing grasp of comedy."A lot of adlibbing
Also appearing in the film is Wim Vorster, who has been involved in the entertainment industry since 1971 as actor, director, playwright, MC, stage manager and more.
"We are all close friends, so there was a lot of adlibbing throughout the making of the film," says Haynes. "That has introduced even more comedy into the film than was originally scripted and gave us the opportunity to re-shoot certain scenes in a variety of different ways. As an editor by training, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of being able to choose from a number of different interpretations."
The music for the film was chosen specifically to drive the narrative and comprises a range of standards and classics like 'The Rose' and 'If You Go Away', all suited to Power's potent voice.
"The tracks have been re-worked and are relevant to what is taking place on screen," adds Haynes. He says that the film is a strong statement against ageism told in an acerbic and often hilarious way. "There is no reason why a gorgeous woman in her 50s should be unable to find work on the stage or on screen," says Haynes. "The film highlights the harshness of the world of show business and also how important it is never to lose hope."
To The Power of Anne will be released by Indigenous Film Distribution at selected cinemas on 29 March 2013.
View behind the scenes footage.