Simon Hansen

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Simon Hansen is a South African born[1] film maker. Hansen has been working in the Film and entertainment industry since 1992. He is best known for producing Alive in Joburg, the film on which District 9 is based.


Hansen discovered and mentored long-time collaborators and friends Sharlto Copley and Neill Blomkamp. Blomkamp was still in high school when they began working together. Hansen mentored many animators and film makers in the South African and African Film Industry. Hansen was partnered with Copley in business for well over a decade. They supplied etv with a show called Deadtime which ran during the 'dead time' of midnight to 6am.[2]

Hansen still conducts workshops in South Africa to inspire and unite young film makers and grow the industry. He is currently collaborating with young talent to produce films under his company Inspired Minority Pictures.

As a writer, producer and director, he has worked to build a film industry in South Africa that can compete in the international arena. Hansen owns a Visual Effects company called Atomic Visual Effects, a talent agency called 'Slaves Talent Management' and a production company called Inspired Minority Pictures,[3] which is now his vehicle for creating, what he calls, 'commercial Independent' films.[4]

Partnerships and associates[edit]

Simon has worked closely with Shartlo Copley, Amira Quinlan and Hannah Slezacek on most of his projects.[5] Hansen directed and produced two very popular[citation needed] viral short films, 2001:a space oddity and Hellweek, both of which were featured at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 under the Cinema Du Monde Section. Hellweek also featured a then unknown Copley as a relentless US drill sergeant. The theme of Hellweek relates to the training of world-class animators in a third world South Africa. 2001:a Space Oddity shares some themes with District 9 in that it features the space shuttle Atlantis landing on a Cape Town street as opposed to New York or Los Angeles.[6]

Hansen's first feature film entitled Spoon was co-directed by Copley in 2006 and shot using brand new camera technology. The supernatural thriller produced by Hansen, Quinlan and Copley stars Darren Boyd and Rutger Hauer. Copley left Hansen to finish the project, when he was offered the lead role of Wikus Van Der Merwe in District 9.[7] Spoon was released in 2011. Hansen was instrumental in the development of the 'si2k' which was used for the first time on Spoon, and later on Slumdog Millionaire, for which that film won an Academy Award for cinematography.[8]

In 2005 Simon and Sharlto produced a short film directed by Neill Blomkamp entitled Alive in Joburg. The film features a documentary style account of aliens living in South African townships and is the basis for the 2009 summer movie District 9 which starred Copley.[9] Hansen also directed some second unit in District 9.

In 2009 Hansen produced Pumzi, a short film which featured a future sci-fi world without water, 35 years after 'The Water War'. Pumzi (which is Swahili for "Breath") was written and directed by a young Kenyan director Wanuri Kahui. The short film is part of the Focus Features backed Africa First Program and was officially in competition at Sundance 2010.[10] The film has high production values for its small budget, which is something Hansen is known for.[citation needed]

Visual Effects[edit]

Hansens company Atomic Visual Effects has produced 3D animation and visual effects for Spoon, What the Bleep do We (k)now, The Breed, Pumzi and Chronicle Chronicle . Hansen also supervised the visual effects on Lost City Raiders, and the TV series Crusoe[11]

Inspired Minority Pictures – Perfect 10[edit]

Inspired Minority Pictures was expected to produce 10 low-budget films and has taken over 100 submissions and conducted 4 workshops throughout South Africa.[12] Hansen believes the process of making Spoon has shown the way for film makers to take full advantage of the new world offered through technology and innovation, and refers to Spoon as the project which proved it. He calls it "a big film in a small film's body",[citation needed] and is currently collaborating with young South African talent to produce 10 low-budget, high-impact, commercially independent features based on Spoon's production model. Hansen intends to use technology and innovation to turn low-budget films into more profitable commercial properties.


  1. ^ IMDB, Simon Hansen on IMDB
  2. ^ Youtube Interview, 11 November 2009
  3. ^ Inspired Minority Pictures
  4. ^ Youtube Interview, 11 November 2009
  5. ^ Showreel, Eve of construction July/August 2006
  6. ^ Newtek Article, Newtek website
  7. ^ Sharlto Copley – William Morris. Archived 2 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. The Callsheet
  8. ^ 2009: looking back on a wildly mixed year. Archived 2 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. The Callsheet
  9. ^ Producer Simon Hansen heads to Sundance with Pumzi Archived 1 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine., 29 Dec. 2009
  10. ^ Sundance 2010 Archived 6 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine., Pumzi at Sundance, Sundance website, December 2010
  11. ^ Simon Hansen, Simon Hansen on IMDB
  12. ^ Inspired Minority's Perfect 10 Workshop[permanent dead link], Gauteng Film Commission of South Africa website

External links[edit]