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Kettle pours ‘Rain’ home

Pic finds roots in 'Soweto'

South African playwright and actor Ross Kettle, whose disturbing play “Soweto Burning” had a run at the Hudson Theater in Los Angeles, has decided to return from the U.S. to Cape Town to lens his first feature movie.

Titled “After the Rain,” pic, based on his 1992 play, is produced by Paige Simpson (“Leaving Las Vegas”) and backed by U.S. distributor Capella Films. Story revolves around three characters caught up in the anguish of the final years of apartheid.

Simpson told Daily Variety during the five-week Cape Town shoot that the low-budget movie is pitched initially at the festival circuit, possibly starting with January’s Sundance.

“I think it will be a buzz film, like ‘Leaving Las Vegas,’ ” she said.

Updated from the play to include the historic 1994 all-race elections in South Africa, movie confronts racism through a drama involving a white soldier, his white cabaret dancer girlfriend and her black co-worker.

“It is a universal story,” Simpson said. “It could have been set in Louisiana or Detroit. It is about how people who have grown up in a racist environment try to change.”

Decision to shoot in Cape Town was linked to Kettle’s South African background, the social milieu of the script, a good dollar-rand exchange rate, and the availability of professional crews.

Kettle is known for his role in the TV series “Santa Barbara,” for which he received an Emmy nomination.

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