“Alive In Joburg”: Neill Blomkamp’s Short Film Which Led To District 9

In 2006, while working as an up-and-coming VFX artist and commercial director, producing works for such manufacturers as Nike, Citroën and Gatorade, Neill Blomkamp wrote and directed Alive in Joburg, a 6-minute science-fiction short film which captured the attention of major Hollywood producers, not least Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Lovely Bones), and paved the way for Blomkamp’s 2009 feature film District 9.

Having impressed Peter Jackson and, as a result, been granted a production budget of $30 million, Neill Blomkamp went to work on his feature-length debut with frequent collaborator Sharlto Copley and wife Terri Tatchell, the result of which was a science-fiction epic which derived many themes and elements from his short film set in Johannesburg, grossed $210 million at the box office, and garnered Blomkamp four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. He has since gone on to direct such blockbusters as Elysium (2013) and Chappie (2015).