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5 minutes with award winning film director, Uga Carlini.

Uga Carlini, is an award winning film director and has become one of South Africa's most versatile and celebrated directors. She is also the founding member of Towerkop Creations, a film company that has been specializing exclusively in female driven heroine stories since 2010.

SA Life Magazine, sat down with the passionate film enthusiast, Uga Carlini and got the inside scoop.

Your career is filled with interesting individuals, who has been the most memorable to work with?

I learn and create memories with as the catering lady, as I do from my actors or DOP. It always feels like a breakup when we wrap. So to choose a most memorable would be like to choose one’s favourite child. Ask me that about milkshake flavours not interesting people

Describe yourself in 5 words?

Mother of superheroes & a mermaid activist.

What was your childhood like?

Like Stranger Things without the alien. With sprinkles of Buck Rogers, MacGyver, Knight Rider and NeverEnding Story. And Liewe Heksie se sterretjies kombuis. 

When did you first discover a love for the career you are in?  Was it a childhood passion, or something you fell into by chance?

It’s what I always wanted to do since I can remember. Story goes that I was four when I turned the volume of the TV down so I could rather read the news and weather the way I needed to have it done.

Who are you when you’re simply at home, on a Sunday afternoon?

The same me right here, right now. Especially on a Sunday afternoon.

Who do you admire within your industry, and why?

Anyone who gets a movie made because it bloody hard, admirable and I know damn well what it takes!

How do you deal with negative criticism?

What other people think of me is none of my business. I’m there for the people who get me, whose lives or moments I can make better with what I do.

Who is your role model and why?

My Boxer dog Mr. T. He is young but wise. Naughty but a fast learner.  He is loyal, loving, energetic, kind, playful, funny and fierce. Tomorrow is always another day for him and he is ALWAYS up to go to the beach. And if all else fails, he’ll sleep on it.

Where’s the most interesting place you have travelled to and why?

Chernobyl. The most radioactive place on earth where its radioactive wilderness and all creatures and plant life in it, have found a way to survive, actually make that THRIVE, because radio activity seems to be a far lesser threat than humans. This despite the Cesium-137 that's packed in their muscles and strontium-90 in in their bones...

What motto or words do you live by?

It changes daily, weekly or yearly, as I evolve, learn things or become inspired. By right now, it has to be the words of my two sons. Roka (5), “Wear a mask, it scares me when you don’t", and Neo (4), "I miss the aquarium.”

We all know that the media doesn’t always get all their info correct, what is the strangest thing you have read about yourself that wasn’t true?

The media is an alley not an enemy for me. I also don’t spend my days googling myself so I haven’t really noticed. So far so good :)

You have a growing following on social media! What is the most memorable tweet you have received, or been tagged in?

Do I? Now you tell me I just love when people tag me to share something fab or funny cause they get me or thought of me. That can be my aunt, buddy or stranger. I love em all. I can also never get used to someone sharing work I have done because it resonates with them for whatever reason. That’s the stuff that keeps me going when things are tough.

Everybody starts their working careers off small, what was your very first job?

Selling Ice Cream in Penny Lane Tygervalley with my best friend at the time Marlien. We got fired a week later for eating too much of the ice cream we were supposed to sell. We moved on to the next ice cream shop soon after that.

Your industry is a tough industry to break into. Hard Work and dedication and so much dedication. What encouraging words do you have for anyone starting out?

The only way to do it is to start. Start somewhere, anywhere and then keep going. You’ll get better and smarter at it the more you keep going :)

I am sure you have encountered a few fans along the way, what has been your favourite fan encounter?

Fans / audience is one and the same thing for me and the reason I get up to do what I do. It’s for them that I do this and while doing it I get to do what I love, every day. So every time I meet someone who not only took time out of their life to watch something I made, but actually got why I did it, that becomes yet another inspiration to keep going, and a favorite audience encounter.

What has been your most challenging decision in your career thus far? What made it so challenging?

Ask Covid-19 this question!

Everyone harbours a pet peeve. What is yours?

A radio that’s off station. Cigarette butts. People sucking snot. Noise. Wi-fi dropping when on a call with someone.

Final Question. If you could choose any superhero to play on a big budget Hollywood production, who would you play?

Myself. I’m a damn super hero. We all are. I’m the hero in my own story. Most of the days.

Share some love to your South African fan base during this time of pandemic.

I made this quarantine music video, with a team of incredible individuals, for the artist Hot Water, as a fundraiser and as my warm embrace for humanity during these trying times. This really sums it up for me:


Favourite chocolate? cote d’or- milk chocolate not dark!

Favourite TV show? Stranger Things, Twin Peaks, Simon’s Cat

Favourite movie? ET / NeverEnding Story / The Shape of Water

Favourite Travel Item? My glow in the dark black butterfly suitcase set

Favourite Clothing Brand? Don’t care about brand, care about comfort, black and leopard print.

Favourite childhood memory? Every time I walked in the VHS / video story on the corner from my childhood home, to rent a video that will transport me yet again, to new places and people.

Your Man Crush Monday? Without a doubt Buffel, the Southern elephant seal who came to visit the beach where I live, Fish Hoek in 2019. The most patient and tolerant celebrity I have ever met.

Your Woman Crush Wednesday?  My cat Leeloo from Fiji. She should have died fifteen years ago. She’s still going her way, on her terms.

Favourite holiday destination?  Fiji (so far)

Favourite sportswoman? Caster Semenya

Must have fashion accessory? My Zara leopard print with golden zips at the back sneakers my dad gave me in Rome and my Guess jacket.

Favourite drink?   Campari

Follow her on social media to keep up to date with everything Uga.

Facebook: @UgaLisaCarlini

I nstagram @UgaLisaCarlini

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