FAY PRESTO

Directed by
Hanna Aqvilin

The legendary Fay Presto, UK’s most in-demand close-up and cabaret magician and LGBT icon, would rather die on stage than quit performing.

Swedish self-shooting producer-director Hanna Aqvilin works explore themes of sexual violence, mental health and transgender rights. Through this documentary Aqvilin explores the remarkable woman that is Fay Presto.

In 1970 as one of the first female magicians in an otherwise male-dominated field, Fay Presto was nationally recognised revolutionising the magic art form, taking it from a stage and bringing it into close-up magic, for the audience's enjoyment in restaurants and all round general immediate proximity. Influencing hundreds of magicians and making way for women in the magic world, Fay’s humour and brilliance has led her to perform for the Queen on six separate occasions as well as doing private magic shows in countless of celebrities’ homes.

This short documentary reflects on Fay’s everyday life as a magician and, at age 70, an older woman in a youth-obsessed entertainment industry. It touches upon gender roles and ageing, shows the struggle of earning a living as a performer, and, through her memories, gives us a glimpse into the glamorous days of the London 80s

<< When I first heard about Fay I immediately felt that she would be a great character for a documentary. Not only has she built and maintained an incredibly successful career but she is also widely admired for her cheeky humour and colourful personality.

Fay has long been suspicious towards journalists and it was difficult for me as a filmmaker to gain access when I first approached her. Throughout the years, she has experienced a lot of prejudices and the media has often pushed for stories relating to her gender – rather than exploring her remarkable journey as a magician. I wanted to make an honest and respectful portrait of Fay Presto without exploiting her or turning her story into sensationalism.  It's time to look beyond gender! >>

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