Raped, stabbed 37 times, disembowelled and her throat slashed 17 times, South African born international activist Alison Botha’s heartbreaking yet inspirational story, has been given a screenplay adaptation that is set to change minds and challenge sexual stereotypes across the world.
Award-winning South African filmmaker and writer, Uga Carlini, brings the story of Botha to life with the hybrid film, Alison The Movie. The rights to the film has been hotly sought after for the past 17 years. Being a filmmaker in touch with women and human rights issues, filmmaker Carlini won the sought-after rights to the screen adaptation of Botha’s story, which she subsequently wrote, produced and directed. The movie will screen at film festivals from June and open up nationwide at Nu Metro cinemas from August 12, a month dedicated to celebrating women in South Africa.
Botha is a renowned international inspirational speaker, whose riveting story of courage and inner strength allowed her to triumph over intense physical and emotional trauma more than 22 years ago. When she was abducted outside her home by two men who raped, stabbed and disembowelled and subsequently left her for dead by a group of savages, no one could have believed that anyone with such severe injuries could live, but miraculously, Botha did.
Speaking about her encounter with the Botha story, Carlini said Botha’s magical story of courage sparked a flame within her.
Carlini said: “I heard Alison speak for the first time in 1999 on the rugby fields of my old high school and a piece of my heart became hers while a spark of her flame became mine. The magic of Alison works on many levels and puts one’s own nonsense into perspective. It gives us a new take on a world that’s forever telling us we have to excel, stand out, be a cut above the rest, join a rally and burn our bras when for me you being you is already enough.”
The manner in which she survived, her inner strength and determination, her lack of bitterness and her serenity and humility captured the attention of South Africa and the world. In 1995, Botha was awarded the prestigious Rotarian Paul Harris Award for courage beyond the norm. Carlini said with Botha’s story there were no superhero outfits, yet her story was one that embodied a superwoman and superhero spirit.
“There’s no superhero outfit in Alison’s cupboard, instead you’ll find some baggy clothes for when she has a fat day. Yahoo – a real heroine. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a long and winding road but for a change, here is a story where between the bad so much more good can be found and how too much of a good thing can just be plain damn marvellous. Alison believed she could. So she did and so did I and it is my wish for my audience to be reminded that so can they.”
Over the years of her own filmmaking career, Carlini has inspired many. She has an extensive film experience both in front of and behind the camera, with a career that has stretched across South Africa, the UK, Australia and Fiji. She was also recently voted Woman of the Month in the Extraordinary Women Of South Africa initiative. Her company, Towerkop Creations, is the first South African company inducted as a member of the South African/American Business Chamber.
The film will also feature as part of the 37th Durban International Film Festival next month. As part of the Women’s Month celebrations, the movie will showcase as the opening film at the Mzansi Women Festival on August 5. Later on in the year, it will also showcase in Barcelona, Spain, Paris and New York as part of the Humanitarian Film Festival.