Award-winning South African actors Atandwa Kani, Altovise Lawrence, Nicholas Nkuna and Denise Ziman star in the new comedy Love by Chance, directed by US-based Samad Davis. The film was shot in the USA and released nationwide in South Africa on 5 May 2017. This will be followed by a theatrical release via AMC Independent in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and other key cities in America.
Altovise Lawrence was the winner of the first season of Top Actor South Africa. American co-stars include Terri J. Vaughn, Ja’el Robeson and Desi Banks amongst others.
Producers Dumi Gumbi, Cati Weinek and Samad Davis agreed on the intent to reverse the conventional storytelling approach by showing how black South Africans could own the limelight in the United States as well as at home. This resulted in a direct funding structure by its producers and distributor. Davis adds; ‘This is a watershed event in South African cinema as it gives South African talent the lead in a film that is set in the USA combining the talent pool fairly.”
Love by Chance is a film about two aspiring actors from South Africa who are independently chasing their dreams in the US, trying to break into an extremely difficult and over saturated Hollywood industry. They meet by chance in Atlanta, Georgia - the ‘Hollywood of the South’ aka ‘Hotlanta’ but between the everyday struggle of auditioning, dealing with daily rejection, self-doubt, financial hardship, crazy friends and a mad dating scene, there is little time for love.
The strong male cast includes Lawrence’s co-competitor Nicholas Nkuna, and US co-stars Clifton Powell of Ray, Rush Hour and Grand Theft Auto; as well as E. Roger Mitchell who co-starred alongside Denzel Washington in Flight and Equalizer.
Kani, who has just been cast in Marvel’s upcoming superhero film The Black Panther, has an Honours degree in theatrical performance from the University of the Witwatersrand. He made his stage debut in The Tempest, a collaboration between the Baxter Theatre Centre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he played Ariel alongside his father, John Kani (Caliban) and Sir Antony Sher (Prospero). In 2009, Kani made his US television debut in CW Television Network’s Life Is Wild, an American adaptation of the British ITV family drama Wild at Heart. He also played the role of Thabo in Series 5 and 6, plus a brief appearance in Series 7, of the original British series. He was also a regular in the SABC TV series Soul Buddyz, and in the political series, 90 Plein Street. He went on to play the young Mandela in the movie Long Walk to Freedom. He was then seen in the B.E.T series The Book of Negroes alongside Cuba Gooding Jr.
Co-star Lawrence had this to say about Kani, “I'll be playing alongside someone who is no stranger to our screens and stages. We both studied drama at Wits, and I trust his work and talent. It was incredible for us to share a platform with top American actors.”
Actor, singer, voice artist and dancer Nicholas Nkuna, best known for his role as Sakhile on the SABC drama series Skeem Saam studied musical theatre at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in Pretoria, and was specially selected to continue honing his craft at the USA’s prestigious Ballstate University in Indiana. He was cast as Simba in The Lion King’s tour of the UK, and he played the role of Dingane in Deon Opperman’s Shaka Zulu: The Musical.
Audiences can also look forward to seeing US actor and comedian Desi Banks, who is a Facebook and Instagram sensation with more than 480,000 followers. Banks is best known for his Instagram comedy sketches, Strangers with Memories (2016), La Vie Magnifique De Charlie (2017), and Never Forget (2016).
Director Davis describes Love by Chance as a pioneering film because it brings together US and South African talent and bridges cultural and continental divides against the backdrop of a comedy.
“As an African-American, I am fuelled by my vision of bridging cultural gaps between Africa and the United States through the power of film and television,” says director Samad Davis. “The Top Actor Africa brand was built on this premise and the film Love by Chance embodies that mantra. Being able to work with the right South
African and international talent, both in front of and behind the camera is priceless.”
The film is produced by Atlanta-based, independent and experienced producer Ty Johnston-Chavis, co-producer Errol Sadler, associate producer Cristina Davis, line producer James Few, and producer Davis, along with the South African producers behind the hit romcom Mrs Right Guy, Dumi Gumbi and Catharina Weinek.
“Our ultimate aim is to make films that South Africans love and can be proud of, so we hope South Africans will show their support at the box office in the coming weeks.” says Gumbi.
Love by Chance is distributed in SA by Indigenous Film Distribution.