A Word from Neill Blomkamp

By VFS Web Team, on August 16, 2009

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2339","attributes":{"class":"media-image size-full wp-image-6936 aligncenter","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"440","height":"292","title":"Director Neill Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley on the set of TriStar Pictures","alt":"Director Neill Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley on the set of TriStar Pictures"}}]]

District 9 topped the weekend box office, recouping its relatively modest budget while proving that smart sci-fi can, in fact, find an audience.
District 9Director (and VFS 3D Animation & Visual Effects graduate) Neill Blomkamp took a few minutes out of his head-spinningly busy schedule to answer some questions for us, after our feature story on Friday covering the visual effects of the film. There, in response to the seemingly unstoppable buzz that had been building leading up to the film's release, Image Engine Visual Effects Executive Producer (and fellow 3D grad) Shawn Walsh told us, "I feel like Neill is getting back everything he put into this film."
"I think that's fairly accurate," Blomkamp says. "I did put a hell of a lot into District 9, and it took two and a half years of solid effort to get it done. But I must say that I was not expecting the buzz the film has generated."
"I felt, for the most part, that I was making the film I wanted to see, meaning I never questioned what I was creating, in terms of my appreciation for it. However, I would fluctuate constantly during the entire production on whether I thought anyone else would like it. Sometimes, I thought people would simply not be able to relate to it, and just pan it. Other times, I felt sure that people would enjoy it."
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2340","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright size-full wp-image-6945","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"220","height":"220","title":"David James (left) and Director Neill Blomkamp on the set of TriStar Pictures","alt":"David James (left) and Director Neill Blomkamp on the set of TriStar Pictures"}}]]Dozens of beaming reviews from A-list critics, as well as countless blog posts and forum threads singing District 9's praises, answered any doubts and more.
"It has certainly given back what I put into it, on a critical level and a fan level," he says.
In our earlier story, Walsh agreed that the film was something of a coming-of-age story for the visual effects industry in Vancouver. There was a little luck involved in that.
"When Weta said they would be unable to do the film, I quickly decided that I wanted the work to go to Vancouver," Blomkamp explains. District 9 Producer Peter Jackson's Weta Digital was suddenly caught up in a little film called Avatar - fortuitous, maybe, but also a deliberate choice on Blomkamp's part. It's still home, after all.
"Since I live there, and I will be making more films, I wanted to contribute to the local industry and also set up partnerships and relationships that will be in place for many more films."
In short, if he has his way, District 9 is just the beginning. And with at least 27 VFS grads working behind the scenes on the visual effects on this film alone, it bodes well for the future. "I know how many grads come out of VFS, and how many facilities in Vancouver hire them," Blomkamp says. "I'm not surprised there are more than 25 VFSers [on District 9]."
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2341","attributes":{"class":"media-image aligncenter size-full wp-image-6921","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"440","height":"86","title":"vfs.com\/enterD9","alt":"vfs.com\/enterD9"}}]]