Director Neill Blomkamp made a huge impact on the world of cinema in 2009 with his Oscar-nominated feature debut, DISTRICT 9. How did Blomkamp go from being a virtual unknown to directing a science fiction blockbuster produced by Peter Jackon? Well, it was a series of short films, including ALIVE IN JOBURG, the short mockumentary that ‘District 9’ is based upon and TETRA VAAL, a mock commercial for a real-life “Robocop”, that got him noticed.
Just based on these two shorts (see below), it is easy to see how Blomkamp caught Jackson’s eye. Despite not using cutting-edge animation techniques, Blomkamp displayed a considerable level of style in somehow seamlessly blending his animated creations into a faux documentary real-world in a highly believable manner. I find it interesting that the robocop in ‘Tetra Vaal’ looks fairly similar to the cyborg Briarieos from the Japanese anime Appleseed series, even featuring the demonic Baphomet horns (bunny ears?).
One feature film and a portfolio of impressive short films is not sufficient to constitute the resume for a visionary filmmaker. However, Blomkamp’s next film ELYSIUM, a science fiction film starring Sharlto Copley, Jodie Foster and Matt Damon may put him over the top as one of the really promising young visionary filmmakers.