Blomkamp and Copley

Neill Blomkamp‘s Elysium may have received lukewarm reviews from critics and its box office performance this past weekend wasn’t ideal (even if it did end up on top), but even with a mixed reception, Elysium is proof of one indisputable fact: Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley are a perfect pair. Copley’s performances have been far and away the best aspects of both Elysium and their previous collaboration, District 9. Sony and MRC must feel the same way, because the two studios are joining forces to finance the next Blomkamp/Copley team-up. Titled Chappie, the pic will be a comedy, showcasing a lighter side of science fiction where (presumably) fewer people will be liquified by futuristic explosives. Along with the film’s studio backing, an official synopsis for Chappie has also been released: “Chappie tells the story of a robot imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by two local gangsters who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes.” Copley will voice the titular robot, while Ninja and Yolandi Visser will also star. Two members of the rap-rave group Die Antwoord will be playing the robot-thieving gangsters.



This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career.  Years from now (let’s say 2154), Neill Blomkamp’s significance in film history books will be that he was discovered through his short films. Specifically by Peter Jackson. And for a while he became a sort of poster boy for the situation where a young talented and economical filmmaker catches Hollywood’s eyes with a remarkable short film showcasing computer-generated special effects that make it look like it cost a million bucks. He will also be known for being part of the related trend of a new filmmaker turning his calling-card-functioning short into a debut feature. And as it turns out, another short of his is set to be adapted for his third feature. And another was a test for what was supposed to be his first (the famous failure of the Halo movie). Following film school and a short time working as an effects artist in Vancouver (he’s credited with animation on such things as 3000 Miles to Graceland and Smallville), the South Africa-born director made four notable shorts, one of which is really a commercial, before he moved into the big pictures courtesy of the mentoring Jackson. A fifth short was what originally came about through that partnership. You can watch all five below followed by links to watch six of his exceptional early ad works.

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