There’s some heavy buzz and excitement brewing for the August release of District 9, Neill Blomkamp’s long-awaited feature debut. The film’s got no recognizable actors, but does have the seal-of-approval from Peter Jackson (who served as a producer). Blomkamp was at originally slated to direct the big-screen adaptation of (popular video game) Halo, but after that project fizzled, District 9 became the next task. Now, rather than adapt the work of others, Blomkamp’s District 9 is an adaptation from his own short film, Alive in Joburg.
This 2005 short film was an underground hit at festivals, depicting South Africa as a land at war with extraterrestrials. Johannesburg native Blomkamp does more than allude to topics such as his country’s ugly history with apartheid. It’s a brilliant blend of the future used as social commentary, the kind of blend seen in some of the best sci-fi work out there. Alive in Joburg is hardly six minutes long, so you should check it out whether or not you plan on seeing District 9 in theaters (you can also see why he was the logical choice for a Halo film). Click here to download a hi-res version of the short. Or, you can stream it here: