Neill Blomkamp broke into the scene with shorts like Landfall and Alive in Joburg, a gritty sci-fi documentary that became the basis for his feature film debut and biggest hit to date, District 9.
After making the modestly-to-poorly received sci-fi films Elysium and Chappie, Blomkamp may be stepping away from trying to live up to early praise of him as the next exciting sci-fi director, and going back to his roots: short films. Blomkamp has been teasing his mysterious Oats Studios project for a while, but a new teaser reveals a hint of what the director’s experimental short film initiative will look like.
The cryptic trailer opens with a shot of a dilapidated Eiffel Tower, as a voiceover says, “We were once mankind. We were humanity. They came here to exterminate us.”
The trailer continues with shots of a woman (played by Dakota Fanning?) shooting an alien in a red-lit corridor, American soldiers facing zombie creatures in Vietnam, and a few more shots of warfare against aliens, complete with exploding tanks and terrifying creatures. The trailer announces that the series of short experimental films called “Oats: Volume 1” will be available to stream on Steam in the next couple months.
Blomkamp has been teasing the prospect of Oat Studios for some time now, asking if fans would be interested in buying films off Steam, Valve’s PC distribution service best known for being a cheap distributor of PC games. Blomkamp later posted some mysterious images to Twitter, showing off one of the aliens seen in the trailer, as well as a Vietnam-era soldier. Earlier this month, he posted a 15 second teaser of a soldier shooting down an unknown something.
If I sold experimental short films on @steam_games as tests for potential full feature films, would people watch them?
— Neill Blomkamp (@NeillBlomkamp) April 9, 2017
With this project, it seems like Blomkamp is trying to utilize Steam as a go-to place for experimental art and as an outlet for his own wacky and bizarre alien invasion ideas without the limits of studio expectations.
Heck, this could be the place where we see his never-made Halo film. You may remember that he was supposed to direct a feature version of the popular video game series, but the project didn’t make it past development. Now I’m imagining a world where Blomkamp can forgo movie studio supervision completely and make movies directly for gamers. Or maybe I’m being too hopeful and already expecting Steam to become the next Netflix or Amazon Studios.
Nevertheless, the teaser is intriguing, and could give Blomkamp the creative boost to once again reach the heights of the magnificent District 9.
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