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 director, writer, producer and animator. 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 the critically acclaimed and financially successful science fiction film District 9 and the dystopian science fiction film Elysium, which garnered moderately positive reviews and a good box office return. He is also known for his collaborations with South African actor Sharlto Copley. He is based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Blomkamp was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the age of sixteen 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, for Blomkamp 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. Blomkamp was 18 when he moved to Vancouver with his family, where he enrolled in Vancouver Film School.
In the late 1990s, he started working in the film industry as a 3D animator. His animation credits include Stargate SG-1 (1998), First Wave (1998), Mercy Point (1998) and Aftershock: Earthquake in New York (1999). In 2000, he garnered his first role of lead animator for the Dark Angel TV series (2000). He was the lead 3D animator for 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001).
In 2003, he was hired to illustrate photo-realistic future aircraft for Popular Science's "Next century in Aviation". In 2004 he illustrated "The Future of the Automobile". Blomkamp worked as a visual effects artist at The Embassy Visual Effects in Vancouver as well as at Rainmaker Digital Effects, and was  Blomkamp directed a trilogy of live-action short films in 2007, known collectively as Landfall. They were set in the Halo universe, to promote the release of Halo 3.
Blomkamp was then slated to direct his first feature-length film, an adaptation of the Halo series of video games, produced by Peter Jackson. Jackson came to know of 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 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 by digital studio IDEALOGUE, which portrays a globe-trotting android gone rogue.
Blomkamp has admitted since that the Halo pre-production was a nightmare, and relations between 20th Century Fox and Blomkamp severely disintegrated before the project's end. 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, starring Copley, and co-written with Blomkamp's wife and production partner Terri Tatchell, was released in mid-August 2009 to widespread critical acclaim. District 9 was later nominated for the 2009 Academy Award for Best Picture, along with nominations for Best Visual Effects, Editing, and Adapted Screenplay.
On October 2010 a video released on the iPad version of Wired Magazine was credited to Neill Blomkamp. It 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. 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. Blomkamp admitted that he was still interested in making a Halo film in April 2013.
After Elysium he started work on his next sci-fi film Chappie, in April 2013. The film is based on his own short, Tetra Vaal. Blomkamp will direct the film and Sony Pictures Entertainment (TriStar Pictures) and Media Rights Capital will co-produce and co-finance the film announced on August 13, 2013.
In Early 2015, Blomkamp posted several pictures to his Instagram page that showed concept-art for an Alien film he might have been working on. Included in the art is Ripley and Hicks, a ship bearing resemblance to the derelict from the 1979 Alien, and a concept Xenomorph.
- District 9 (2009) (co-writer, director)
- Elysium (2013) (writer, director)
- Chappie (2015) (co-writer, director)
- 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)
- 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)
- "District Supervisor: Neill Blomkamp". nymag.com. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- "Neill Blomkamp". MovieMaker. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Chris Lee (2009-08-02). "Neill Blomkamp's 'District 9' wins over fanboys and Peter Jackson". Los Angeles Times.
- David Brake (2013-04-21). "Best Films Never Made: Neill Blomkamp's Halo". One Room With A View.
- 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.
- "IS IT DEAD?". YouTube.com.
- Elysium's Neill Blomkamp Would Still Love to Make a Halo Movie
- "Neill Blomkamp on his next sci-fi film, Chappie". denofgeek.com. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "Neill Blomkamp Talks Chappie". empireonline.com. 14 July 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "Sony, MRC Reunite With Neill Blomkamp on ‘Chappie’". variety.com. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- District 9 Oscar nominations: statements from Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
- Horror at the Oscars Part 1: The Quickening
- "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