A jaw-dropping story of survival against all the odds

Alison In 1994, Alison Botha was abducted at knife-point by two men outside her home in South Africa. Driven into a nature reserve off the main road, she was raped, disembowelled, almost decapitated and left for dead. Against extraordinary odds, mystifying the doctors who had treated her, Alison survived this horrific attack. But this was only the beginning of her struggle. This is the remarkable story of her fight for justice and recovery.

As she lay dying in the sand, her slashed throat gargling and exposed intestines collecting gravel, Alison somehow summoned the strength to stand. Everything went black. “I realised that my head had flopped back right between my shoulder blades”. Holding her near-severed head in place she began to walk. “It was like someone else was moving my feet for me. The next thing I knew I was at the road. And I just collapsed.” So began Alison’s miraculous tale of survival.

The first car that came across the naked, bleeding young woman sped past. But the second contained a young veterinary student, Tiaan Eilerd. “He was my knight in shining armour. He was trying so hard to keep me alive”, says Alison. Eventually an ambulance arrived. “I asked them to drive faster, but they didn’t see the urgency in that. It was like they’d already decided she wasn’t going to make it, so why rush?”, remembers Tiaan.

In his long career working in intensive care Dr. Comyn had never seen anything like Alison’s injuries. “The sheer brutality, the ferociousness, and the mindless destruction of a human really got to me.” Along with Dr Dimitri Angelov, Dr. Comyn did his best to save Alison, but to this day they cannot give a scientific explanation for her recovery. “We must accept that it is a miracle”, says Dr, Angelov.

Alison’s ordeal was only prolonged by the criminal justice system. “The recovery was one thing. But the indignation of having your pubic hairs pulled by different policeman. Having to drop my pants in someone’s office to have photographs taken of my injuries....” But Alison had to endure. Her attackers, Frans du Toit and Theuns Kruger, had previously raped two other women, and she was not about to allow them their freedom. “All I saw was dead, cold evil”, says Alison, of her attackers’ eyes.

Not long after her attack, Alison was invited to share her experiences at the Rotary Club. She was terrified. “To my surprise, I felt better. I wanted to do it again, so I did. And I haven’t stopped yet.” Alison had found her calling. “The talks gave me direction, a cause, a purpose, a new business, and healing.” With audiences flocking to hear Alison's motivational speeches, she has been able to regain confidence in her life.

But the shadow of her attack still looms over her, made excruciatingly clear when she hears that her attackers have become eligible for parole, something their sentencing judge tried to prevent. “I fought so hard that night to make sure they would go to prison, and never have the chance to do this again”, she says. In a shocking lack of remorse, attacker Frans du Toit even demanded royalties from Alison's motivational speeches.

A horrifying tale told with immense candour, Alison shines through this documentary as a remarkable inspiration.

International Humanitarian Platinum Award winner

Read more in the Variety Magazine article

The Producers

Of Italian descent but proudly and fully South African, filmmaker Uga Carlini has extensive film experience both in front of and behind the camera, with a career that’s stretched across South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia and Fiji.

A drama graduate of Stellenbosch University, Uga returned to South Africa to become the founding owner of Towerkop Creations, a film company specializing in female driven heroine stories.

Recently voted a “Woman of the Month” in the “Extraordinary Women Of South Africa” initiative, Uga is the first filmmaker and the first South African company inducted as a member of the South African / American Business Chamber.

Making The Film

We choose the RED DRAGON because of the heavy / animation
contingent of the film. We knew that most of this film’s hard work
was going to happen in post and that the RED DRAGON was going
to give us the best chance to have the canvas in place so we can
make it all happen then. It was also in post where we were just continuously challenged with relentless predicaments. We planned well but because the genre is still documentary at heart, a bulk of the planning had to be reserve for once we had our timeline down. The interviews had to be shot first and we had to wait for what we would have for me to decide with the post creative as to what would work best to fit the story and the budget.

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