Blomkamp at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International
17 September 1979 |
Johannesburg, South Africa
Neill Blomkamp (born 17 September 1979) is a South African-Canadian film and advertisement writer and director. Blomkamp employs a documentary-style, hand-held, cinéma vérité technique, blending naturalistic and photo-realistic computer-generated effects. He is best known as the co-writer and director of critically acclaimed District 9 and the upcoming science fiction film Elysium. He is based out of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Early life and career 
Blomkamp was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. At 16, he met Sharlto Copley who had also attended Redhill High School in Johannesburg. Copley provided Blomkamp with the use of computers at his production company in order to pursue his passion and talent for 3D animation and design - in return, Blomkamp assisted Copley in creating 3D work for pitches on various projects. His family moved to Vancouver when Blomkamp was 18, where he enrolled in Vancouver Film School. In 2003, Blomkamp was hired to illustrate photo-real future aircraft for Popular Science's "Next century in Aviation" and in 2004 was hired to illustrate "The Future of the Automobile". Blomkamp worked as a visual effects artist at The Embassy Visual Effects in Vancouver as well as Rainmaker Digital Effects. Blomkamp was signed by Toronto commercial house Spy Films.
In 2007, Blomkamp directed a trilogy of live-action short films (known collectively as Landfall) set in the Halo universe, to promote the release of Halo 3. In 2008, Halo: Combat Evolved, the first of the three installments, won the Cannes Lions 2008 – Film Lions Grand Prix.
Blomkamp was then slated to direct his first feature-length film, an adaptation of the Halo series of video games, produced by Peter Jackson. Peter Jackson had come to know about Blomkamp after viewing a reel of his commercial work and shorts shot in his off time. The four shorts that got him noticed included Tetra Vaal, a faux advertisement for a third-world robotic police that established Neill Blomkamp's signature style of mixing lo-fi production with seamless CGI; Alive in Joburg, a gritty "documentary" about extraterrestrials marooned in Johannesburg; Tempbot, an Office Space-esque spoof; and Yellow, a short film based on the colour yellow for Adidas' "Adicolor" campaign, which portrays a globe-trotting android gone rogue.
When funding for the Halo film collapsed, Peter Jackson decided to produce District 9 instead, an adaptation of Blomkamp's earlier short film Alive in Joburg, which had been produced by Hansen and Copley. The film, directed by Blomkamp and starring Copley, was released in mid-August 2009, to critical acclaim.
On October 2010, a video was released on the iPad version of the Wired Magazine, credited to Neill Blomkamp, which shows an amateur recording of two young men who find a dead mutated creature in a puddle of mud while driving down a countryside road. The creature, a dog-sized mix between a pig and a lizard, presents a tattooed seal on its side that reads "18.12 AGM Heartland Pat. Pend. USA". Also, "AGM Heartland" was trademarked for its use in an entertainment-oriented website. It is yet unknown whether the video holds any relation to Blomkamp's current project, Elysium. On 20 February 2012, a 23 second video clip titled "IS IT DEAD?" appeared on YouTube, featuring Yolandi Visser, of the South African group Die Antwoord, crouching over the creature.
On April 2013, Blomkamp admitted that he is still interested in making a Halo film. 
Feature films 
- District 9 (2009) (co-writer, director)
- Elysium (2013) (writer, director)
- Chappie (2014) (co-writer, director)
Short films 
- Tetra Vaal (2004) (director, visual FX)
- Alive in Joburg (2005) (director, writer, visual FX)
- Yellow (2006) (director, visual FX)
- Tempbot (2006) (director)
- Halo: Landfall (2007) (director)
- Nike - Crab (2003) / Evolution (2004)
- Citroën C4 - Alive with technology (2004)
- Gatorade - Rain (2006)
Other credits 
- Stargate SG-1 (1998) (3D animator)
- First Wave (1998) (3D animator)
- Mercy Point (1998) (3D animator)
- Aftershock: Earthquake in New York (1999) (3D animator)
- Dark Angel (2000) (lead animator)
- Art of Dying music video - Day Survive (2001) (director, visual FX)
- 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001) (lead 3D animator)
- Smallville (2001) (3D animator)
- BV-01 (2005) (special thanks)
- Best Ever Ads 2 (2006) (himself)
- Crossing the Line (2008) (additional director)
- 2004, First Boards Awards - "One of the top five directors to watch"
- 2004, Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival - "Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase"
- 2004, Shark Awards (shortlisted)
- 2005, VES awards "Outstanding VFX in a commercial" for Citroen - Alive with technology
- 2008, Cannes Lions 2008 - Film Lions- Grand Prix - Halo: Combat
- 2009, Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Director & Satellite Award for Best Adapted Screenplay - District 9
- 2009, Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay - District 9
- 2009, Won - Bradbury Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America - District 9
- 2010, Nominated - Academy Award for Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Nomination for Academy Award for Best Picture 2009 - District 9 (Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell)
In popular culture 
- Blomkamp is mentioned in the songs "Baby's On Fire" and "So What?" from the South African group Die Antwoord's 2012 album Ten$Ion.
- "District Supervisor: Neill Blomkamp". nymag.com. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- "Neill Blomkamp". Movie Maker. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Chris Lee (2009-08-02). "Neill Blomkamp's 'District 9' wins over fanboys and Peter Jackson". Los Angeles Times.
- Russell Baillie (2009-07-18). "Jackson's new sci-fi film a return to his origins". The New Zealand Herald.
- "‘District 9’ director is no neophyte in an alien land". Chicago Tribune.
- Wallace, Lewis. "Video: Neill Blomkamp Takes a Stab at Something Creepy (and Cryptic)". Wired.
- Nikki Finke. "Neill Blomkamp Moving Ahead On 'Elysium'".
- "IS IT DEAD?". YouTube.com.
- Elysium's Neill Blomkamp Would Still Love to Make a Halo Movie
- "Nike Crabs Play Football". The Inspiration Room. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- "Nike Air Huarache 2K4 in Evolution". The Inspiration Room. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- "Dancing Citroen Transformers". The Inspiration Room. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- "Gatorade Rain – Birth of the New Cool". The Inspiration Room. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- Terrence Wick. "Day Survive Video Hits Muchmusic Airwaves".
- Standlee, Kevin (15 May 2010). "Nebula Awards Results". Science Fiction Awards Watch. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
- Neill Blomkamp at the Internet Movie Database
- Website for Spy Films productions
- Neill Blomkamp talking District 9 at FEARnet
- Alive in Joburg at www.spyfilms.com
- Neill Blomkamp interview at AMCtv.com
- Neill Blomkamp interview with Comic-Con