Neill Blomkamp is Getting Pretty Steamed!

Alternate headline: Neill Blomkamp is Sowing His Wild Oats!

One of the recurring topics of conversation in modern film is how filmmakers can use the power of the Internet to break out of the traditional, studio-bound ways of funding and distributing movies. There have been various answers to this question, including crowdfunding and distribution through streaming services like Netflix. Now Neill Blomkamp (District 9Elysium, a hard R-rated reboot of Short Circuit) has waded into the fray with his own model: Oats Studios.

Here’s the deal: Blomkamp and Company will release a series of short films for free on YouTube. While I’m sure these films will bring in some money via YouTube’s advertising model, what differentiates Oats is that movie watchers will also be able to pay for the films through the game distribution network Steam. Why would anyone pay for something they can get for free elsewhere, aside from the pleasure of being a patron of the arts? The Steam version will come with bonus features, something that I know I’ve missed in the age of streaming, including concept art, effects footage and even 3D models. Neat!

While I certainly wish Oats Studios luck in their endeavor, I’m a tad cynical about how successful they’ll be. While a certain segment of the population will clamor for this kind of behind the scenes stuff, it seems pretty niche, and this stuff doesn’t look cheap. Speaking of which, here’s the teaser trailer for Oats Studios Volume One:

My first thought is that I’m not sure what Oats means by “experimental films.” To me, this looks like straight ahead genre fare with Blomkamp’s trademark gritty and violent aesthetic. I’m sure there will be some lovely production design, as that’s his strong suit. As Lewton Bus’ own Kevin Kuhlman observed, it “looks like Gorn meets Aliens,” which seems pretty accurate. The only thing experimental here is the business model. At any rate, I know I’ll be forking over some money for this out of curiosity if nothing else. What do you guys think?

[via Collider]

  • I can’t picture a world where a large demographic pays for special features. Also… Blomkamp is the current King Director of Diminishing Returns

    • Yeah. I haven’t seen CHAPPIE yet, but ELYSIUM felt like such a step down that I sort of thought less of DISTRICT 9 afterwards. Which isn’t fair I realize.

      • Oh man… wait until you subject yourself to Chappie. And then afterwards, remember that he was going to bring Hicks back to life too.

        He’s the worst.

        • Thank goodness that project died. It was so wrongheaded.

          • Seriously though, subject yourself to Chappie

          • McGuinty

            After reading Evan’s Sam Strange column on it, I just had to fucking see it. He wasn’t exaggerating even a little bit.

          • It’s almost beautiful

  • jeves23

    I can’t really get worked up about this one way or the other. It looks like he’s playing with the same toys, and I’m thinking there will be more than a few ideas from his “we’re calling it cancelled but it never really got farther than an idea and some concept art” Alien5 that make their way into the shorts.
    It might be good, but it probably won’t.

  • Butts Carlton

    As the resident Blomkamp-stan (although even I admit that CHAPPIE is butt), this looks right up my alley. I love the creature design (reminds me of the Gorn from Trek, but updated and less rubber-suit based) and Blomkamp knows how to shoot. Hopefully in short-film format his more, shall we say, indulgent behavior is toned down.

    Also, try and tell me this isn’t supposed to look EXACTLY like Hicks from ALIENS