A Fish Hoek resident, Uga Carlini, has just returned from the world’s first ever Block Chain Film Festival and Filmmart in Switzerland, where she bagged two of their biggest awards.
Carlini scooped the Best Director and Best Screenplay for her multi-award winning hybrid feature, Alison.
In an interview with People’s Post, Carlini described the recognition as amazing. She said film making is something that she has always wanted to do. Her story of Alison Botha, well known as one of the SA’s biggest and most inspiring survival heroines, with a Penguin Random Best seller book, I have Life, to match, was one of South Africa’s most hotly-anticipated hybrid films in 2016.
Botha was raped by two men, stabbed over 36 times and had her throat slit more than 17 times. She was left for dead, but defied that and lived to tell the story that has inspired several people across the world.
Botha is a motivational speaker. After the September 2001 terror attacks in New York, she gave motivational speeches to some of the survivors. Among her awards are the Rotarians’ Paul Harris Award for Courage, Citizen of the Year in 1995 from her home town, Port Elizabeth and Femina’s first Woman of Courage award in 1995.
Carlini said: “I am very honoured to be awarded here, where block chain meets the creative. Every time there is an award and the blood, sweat, tears, responsibility, passion, good and bad times gets recognised it’s the elixir that keeps one going.”
Deploying a bold mixture of fairy tale idiom and unflinching frankness to tell its story of survival, resilience and triumph, Alison was dubbed “a story of monsters, miracles and hope”.
The film has also made history by becoming a gem on Amazon Prime in 2018. The story has also been translated into seven languages. “This is amazing, as film makers we don’t do this for recognition but to be recognised at such a stage is such an honour. This just goes to show that the story resonates with everyone and everywhere. It touches on issues that affect us, not only as South Africans but as the world,” says Carlini.
Looking back at where it all started, Carlini says she went to a motivational speech at her former school, DF Malan in 1999 where Botha was speaking.
“The talk was supposed to be in the school hall but was moved to the rugby field because there were a lot of people. I couldn’t see her when she spoke because I was so far, but I could hear her speak. Looking at the people around me you could see that what she was talking about touched everyone, both men or women. It was not a story of trying to get sympathy but a story of hope, a story to remind us all that we are all heroes and we should wear our scars with pride,” she says.
Carlini told herself from that day that one day she will turn Botha’s story into a movie.
“I told my mother that one day when I’m old I will do a movie on her. Years later we got in touch and I told her I wanted to do her story,” she said.
She had other offers from big companies overseas but didn’t give them her story. “We had to talk and convince her and after a lot of cupcakes she agreed,” Carlini said.
Carlini has fast become one of South Africa’s most versatile and celebrated directors. Her extensive film experience, both in front of and behind the camera, boasts a career that’s stretched across South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia and Fiji.
This year is set to be another notable year for Carlini as she gears to partner with more creatives, next up is the music video 17 Shots for Sony Music Africa, her much anticipated hybrid, From Meton with Love and Tammy-Anne Fortuin’s fiction feature Angeliena.
“Angeliena is another one to lookout for. It looks at us as a country. On the outside it is about everything we got right since 1994. We need to remind ourselves of how good we are. In the inside it is about self love, greatness among other things. It is about celebrating the good, cherishing how far we have come and where we are going. So I’m also excited for the projects in the pipeline for this year,” she says.