Actor, producer, screenwriter and director, local Scenic South Peninsula resident, woman extraodinaire Uga Carlini features as Woman of the Month on the website:www.xtraordinarywomen.co.za.
Uga has been very involved in the local campaign for more traffic calming measures to ensure greater safety on Kommetjie Road and has recently joined the Exco of the Fish Hoek Valley Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association.
Uga obtained her degree in drama from Stellenbosch University where she majored in acting and filmmaking. “Since I can remember… since those around me can remember… I wanted to make, tell and be MOVIES!” She relates how her parents had to enforce the rule the ‘in bed by 8 – ASLEEP!’ rule so that they could watch the news without Uga’s turning down the volume in order to produce, present and act out her own version of events. After graduating she spent ten years abroad, mainly in the United Kingdom and Fiji, where she compiled and pioneered the syllabus for acting, screenwriting and filmmaking for the National University of Fiji and was deeply involved with the creation and development of student films.
On her return to South Africa in 2007, she and her husband settled in Fish Hoek. Says Uga: “I am originally from the northern suburbs or as it’s also known from ‘agter die boerwors gordyn’. Growing up, I had only ever been to Fish Hoek once, which was we drove through the town to attend a school camp in Noordhoek. I loved it. It is home in every sense of the word, finally. And we are here to stay. Oh and those mermaid and owls and the ….they are all pregnant. Yes, there are lots and lots of babies still on the way…!”
She now has a production company named Towerkop Creations which “specializes in female driven heroine stories that inspire and entertain while appealing to international audiences. I have some very interesting projects on my slate which I feel honoured to be developing for the big screen.”
“Towerkop happens to be the original name of our house. The name can be seen hand carved into a piece of granite in the 70 year old rock wall against the foot of the beautiful Brakkloof mountain behind us. When I researched the history of the house after we bought it, I found out that the reason why it was called ‘Towerkop’ was because an underground river runs through it, making the soil extremely fertile..I also discovered that previous owners and oldies from the area could remember how one could often hear beautiful singing coming from under the Milkwood tree and around the house with no human anywhere in sight. Even though I haven’t heard the singing yet, my heart hasn’t stopped singing since I moved in and Towerkop Creations was born two years ago!”
Of the “very interesting projects on her slate” are the following. Uga has been awarded the rights to Alison Botha’s story, I HAVE LIFE, which she and Alison are making into a feature documentary called CHANCES and a feature film entitled COUNTING MIRACLES “which has several Oscar winning producers waiting to read the scripts”. She has known of Alison, like many of us, since 1994 and feels that “it must probably be one of the biggest honours and responsibilities of my life to be awarded the rights of her story.” Alison was brutally raped and survived life-threatening slashes to her body and has since been a source of inspiration to many women who have survived similar brutality. But this year, the nightmare returned as news broke following an announcement by the Department of Correctional Services that parole hearings would be given to Du Toit and Kruger, the rapists. The biggest motivating factor behind Alison’s triumphant healing was the fact that she knew they would be behind bars for the rest of their lives. It came as huge shock to her and many others that there was a court order passed in South Africa in 2011 which, in effect, gave approximately 5,000 highly dangerous criminals who are serving life sentences the right to apply for parole.
Also in production is the feature documentary of Elizabeth Klarer’s life GOOD PLANETS ARE HARD TO FIND which “centers around Elizabeth as SA’s first environmentalist, internationally recognized scientist, meteorologist and First Lady of Space. Elizabeth Klarer’s prophetic environmental message and accurate foreseeing, peppered with scientific fact that she brought back from the planet Meton, via her supposed lover Akon and his people in 1956, seem more valid now than it could ever be then. The documentary’s soundtrack will consist of music by The Parlotones. This multiplatinum-selling rock group with their otherworldly and romantic lyrics and their environmental consciousness is a perfect fit for Elizabeth’s story.
The short “concept teaser” of GOOD PLANETS ARE HARD TO FIND was chosen as one of the 500 shorts out of 7000 very competitive international entries at the recent InterBerlin short film festival in Berlin and will soon be screened at the upcoming prestigous Cape Winelands Film Festival. It features renowned South African actress and fellow far south resident Sandra Prinsloo as Elizabeth Klarer. “We have the last footage ever shot of Elizabeth at our disposal. I have also been given the rights to turn her book into one of the world’s greatest love stories for the big screen, named after her book, BEYOND THE LIGHT BARRIER. It’s amazing to see how well received Elizabeth’s story has been received in Hollywood. The world is ready for her.”
Uga’s third major project presently on the go is the film THE RETIREMENT set in the Western Cape, the heroine of which is ex-bergie Poppie of the Cape Flats, a MND sufferer who works as the parking attendant at a hospital and harbours the dream of one day travelling the world.”This charming story involves a snobbish, no-good and abusive hospital superintendant, Mr Mitchell, his meek wife Lily, the ditzy nurse with a heart-of-gold Debbie, heart-throb and good guy Dr Botha and of course Poppie who has a few more tricks up her sleeve and is nowhere near ready to go gentle into the good night.”
Two of Uga’s favourite quotes are “To leave the world a better place, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) and “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter’” (Martin Luther King Jr). With these quotations and knowledge that she is now n Exco member of FHVRRA in mind, I asked her what her vision was for Fish Hoek.
“My vision for Fish Hoek? Well, she is already such a vision- apart from Main Road, but what I would like to see added to this masterpiece is a safer Kommetjie Road, not just for all of us who use it and live on it but also as some kind of justice for the many who lost loved ones and felt so unheard and dismissed for so long. Life might go on, for us it does anyway, but an unfair loss like that because of recklessness and selfishness, that’s tough, tough, tough.
I would also love to see a Fish Hoek which puts the environment first for without it, we cannot be. Sure, some are doing great things, but imagine if everyone started adding their bit to this wonderful collective green consciousness. No matter how small you start, just start.
It would also be refreshing to see some younger faces add their voice to the Ratepayers’ Association. I must say, I had no idea how hard the FHVRRA works for you and me, for free because the members of the Exco care. Come on, come help build the Fish Hoek, the Scenic South Peninsula, you would like to see. After all, it really is ‘a small group of thoughtful people that can change the world – indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’
And lastly, it would be good to see some general tolerance where and when it matters. You don’t have to braai with your neighbour for this to happen. Even though they might not do things your way or paint the wall a colour you like, we are all in this together. We walk the same earth. Vent where it matters, moan where it can make a change. The beach needs work… Kommetjie Road… stormwater junk going into the ocean… the current environmental disaster in our delicate ecosystem in the Clovelly wetlands… animal abuse. The list is long. Make your voice count and be heard – and in the right places. The power of the individual is what gets things done and even more so when individuals start working together.
The power of the individual gets things done. Our FHVRRA is going to go from strength to strength with powerful personalities like Uga on board. We congratulate this extraordinary young woman on her achievements and look forward to more great things to come.
(Also new to the FHVRRA EXCO is architect Andre Rademeyer of Kalk Bay. For more about his vision for Fish Hoek see http://scenicsouth.co.za//2011/12/fish-hoeks-architecture-and-spirit-of-space/)
Photo of crew in the Drakensberg: Micky Wiswedel
Photo of Alison and Uga: Micky Wiswedel
Good planets poster: Scenic South Peninsula resident Adele Kendal
The Retirement poster: Lara Carlini
For more about Scenic South Peninsula achievers see