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New US Romantic Comedy Showcases South African Rising Star Altovise Lawrence

JOHANNESBURG: Wits University dramatic arts graduate Altovise Lawrence, winner of the first season of reality show ‘Top Actor’, produced by Black Entertainment Television (BET), stars in the new comedy-drama ‘The Other Side’, by American writer, producer and director Warren Pemberton. The film opens in South Africa on Friday 3 May.

When Gemma (Erica Hubbard) asks her long-lost friend to be the maid of honour at her wedding, her fiancé, Allen (Brad James), has no clue that he’s meeting her old college friend Kiya (Altovise Lawrence), a wildly outspoken novelist and lesbian. Though an aspiring writer himself, Allen does not find a friend in his new house-guest but a rival for Gem's attention. Eventually, the soon-to-be husband discovers there's a lot more to the story than his fiancée explained when he finds himself in a modern-day love triangle. Frank and honest, Kiya – the other woman – pulls apart a happy relationship and causes the couple to question their future together. Lawrence’s performance has been described as stellar, and she imbues Kiya with passion and realism.

Shot in Atlanta, Georgia, the film features shots of the city’s skyline, a jog around Piedmont Park, some interesting back streets, and the city’s landmark lesbian bar My Sister’s Room.

With a focus on family issues and LGBT acceptance, the film highlights the struggle that many people go through in learning to love and accept themselves for who they are instead of caving to familial pressures.

After winning the first season of BET Africa's first ever original production of ‘Top Actor’, Lawrence appeared in the feature films ‘Blood Drive (2017) and ‘Love by Chance’ (2017), the latter a co-production between South African filmmakers Dumi Gumbi (Mrs Right Guy, Dora's Peace) and Cati Weinek (Mrs Right Guy, Soul City), and US based director and producer Samad Davis, creator of Top Actor.

Her professional acting debut was in the James Ngcobo-directed play ‘The Colored Museum’ (2014) which ran at the Market Theatre. Her first television appearance was a minor role as an interviewee on the SABC3 soap opera ‘Isidingo’, in late 2014. In 2016, Altovise was cast in the soapie ‘Scandal!’ as Chantal, love interest to Stokkies.

Co-star Brad James, a former US Marine known for his role as Todd in the sitcom ‘Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse’, is a well-known comedic actor who has also appeared in dozens of television series and films, playing a vast range of characters from action hero, and misunderstood boy-toy, to the diabolical villain.

In the role of Gemma is Erica Hubbard, an American actress and model best known for her roles as Kiana Anderson in 2006's ‘Akeelah and the Bee’, as Cassandra "Cassie" Sutton on the ABC Family series ‘Lincoln Heights’ and Kita Whitmore on ‘Let's Stay Together’ on the BET network.

The top-notch supporting cast includes popular actor Miguel A Núñez Jr. (‘The Return of the Living Dead’, ‘Life’, ‘Juwanna Mann’, and ‘Tour of Duty’), and Roger Guenveur Smith, an internationally acclaimed actor, writer, and director and long-time colleague of Spike Lee.

Writer, director and producer, Warren Pemberton, CEO of Soul Rebel Entertainment, studied drama at the University of Connecticut, and received his degree in film from Clark Atlanta University. In 1996, he interned at Paramount Studios for Entertainment Tonight and in 2001, In 2001, he worked on Bunim-Murray Production's ‘The Real World’ and went on to direct a music video for Konkrete's 'Whatcha Wanna Do' in 2004 and a 'Rock Your Fashion' segment for MTV in 2008. In 2013 he directed the film ‘Criminal Behavior’. 

He has also worked on independent films, music videos and various network TV shows and commercial films.

‘The Other Side’ is distributed in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution.

Tweet us @GoXtraNews or simply send an email to our Editor Buchule Raba for any coverage related issues or event invites. You can also Tweet @BuchuleB

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