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SA-set sci-fi satire huge hit in US

first_imgThe poster for District 9 Neill Blomkamp, District 9’s South African-born writer and director, speaks to fans about his movie at the recent Comic-Con convention in San Diego. (Image: Natasha Baucas, Wikipedia) USEFUL LINKS • District 9 official site • District 9 on the Internet Movie Database • QED International• Gauteng Film Commission RELATED ARTICLES • Top honours for SA movie • Movie draws public – and pirates • Bang Bang club lives on in film • New boost for Nollywood • 2010 opportunities for SA film • Hollywood studio for Cape Town • Rebate boost for SA film • Cape Town: Africa’s HollywoodSamson MulugetaA film shot on location in Johannesburg and directed by a young South African-born computer graphics whiz has taken the US box office by storm, earning the number-one spot and raking in US$37-million (R302-million) during its opening weekend on 14 August 2009.Directed by 29-year-old South Africa-born Neill Blomkamp, District 9 satirises the absurdities of apartheid in a science fiction account of extraterrestrials who become refugees in South Africa.Part of District 9’s success in the US can be attributed to a quirky and viral marketing campaign, which used billboards at bus stations to encourage people to call a toll-free number if they spotted “non-human activity”.What makes the film all the more remarkable is that it cost only $30-million (R245-million) to make, a small sum by Hollywood standards if one considers it took $250-million (R2-billion) to bring latest Harry Potter instalment to life.Obscure beginningsBlomkamp grew up in Johannesburg, moving with his family to Vancouver, Canada, when he was 17.Blomkamp dabbled in filmmaking while still at school in South Africa and later went on to specialise in animation and computer graphic design.District 9 began as a six-minute film clip, called Alive in Joburg, which Blomkamp wrote and directed in 2005 as a sample of his work.The fledgling director’s big break came when Peter Jackson, a New Zealand filmmaker, producer and screenwriter best known for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, approached him to direct Halo, a film based on a computer game.Although Halo never took off due to a profit-sharing dispute, it inadvertently led to bigger things, as an executive at Universal Studios who was overseeing the Halo project came across Blomkamp’s six-minute clip and showed it to Jackson.Jackson was impressed by Blomkamp’s work and asked him to turn Alive in Joburg into a feature-length movie. And thus District 9 was born.The involvement of Jackson gave Blomkamp instant credibility. In Blomkamp, Jackson saw a young man creating work based on his life experiences.“He saw South African society – both the good and bad of the society there – and he wanted to put a science fiction spin on what he witnessed growing up because he’s a science fiction geek,” Jackson told the Los Angeles Times at the recent Comic-Con convention in San Diego. “District 9 is not reflective of any movie that I can imagine. It’s really very original, which I love about it, and that’s totally Neill.”Science fiction satireDistrict 9 kicks off in the year 2010, 28 years after an alien spaceship arrives in Johannesburg. The craft hovers above the city without any contact, but eventually humans take the initiative and cut into the ship. There they discover a large group of malnourished and sick aliens and bring them back to earth. The newcomers are confined to an area called District 9 – a slum-like compound surrounded by barbed wire with no running water or sanitation.A documentary style with hand-held cameras and computer-generated images is used to create a fast-paced narrative.With its strong anti-segregation message and partly filmed in South Africa’s largest township of Soweto, the film is clearly a satire of apartheid. One District 9 website carries a Google Earth-like view of the district – using a satellite image of Soweto.The title District 9 plays on Cape Town’s District Six, best known for the apartheid government’s forced removal of over 60 000 coloured residents during the 1970s. The community was relocated to the Cape Flats 25km away.Although several parallels can be drawn to the apartheid era, Blomkamp says he tried hard not make the film a heavy “message movie”. He says he wrote the word “satire” in large block letters on a piece of paper and posted it in his office to remind that his first priority was to entertain audiences.It may seem incredible that Blomkamp successfully directed a Hollywood blockbuster before his 30th birthday, but he says he’s been working towards this moment all his life.“When I was 14 or 15 I got into 3D animation on the computer my parents bought me,” Blomkamp told the Los Angeles Times.“I was toying with practical effects – prosthetics, in-camera effects, models and photography. I knew I wanted to be involved in all that.”“I realised I could take all the ideas I had and have them make fun of themselves,” Blomkamp added. “At the same time, I could address all of the stuff I wanted to get in there.”Critical acclaimThe movie has opened to rave reviews, including one from New York Times critic AO Scott.“The South African setting hones the allegory of District 9 to a sharp topical point,” Scott said.“The country’s history of apartheid and its continuing social problems are never mentioned, but they hardly need to be. And the film’s implications extend far beyond the boundaries of a particular nation, which is taken as more or less representative of the planet as a whole.”Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune described the film as “an electrifying sci-fi ride that defies all the usual Hollywood clichés. It’s that rarest kind of film, magnificent trash.”Gwen Watkins, a media blogger for Bizcommunity.com, was also impressed by the movie, but for different reasons.“Last week’s media preview of District 9, the new South African sci-fi film, left most of us quite shattered,” Watkins wrote. “The film is deservedly gaining credit internationally but in South Africa it may well be greeted with uncomfortable reactions – the film unashamedly draws on our past and current view of species different to our perception of what is human and how we treat them.”South Africans starring in District 9 include Sharlto Copley, Blomkamp’s childhood friend and frequent collaborator.In the movie Copley plays the role of Wikus van der Merwe, the bureaucratic official from Multi-National United, the giant corporation charged with relocating the aliens.Other locals who star in the film are Vanessa Haywood, Kenneth Nkosi, Mandla Gaduka, Eugene Khumbanyiwa, Jason Cope, David James, Louis Minnaar and Sylvaine Strike.Michael Murphy of Kalahari Pictures, based in Cape Town, was the film’s supervising producer.Blomkamp is currently visiting South Africa to promote the film. It opens in local cinemas on August 28 2009.last_img read more

Orphaned baby rhino named

first_img11 February 2016A rhino calf, abandoned by its mother on New Year’s Eve in the Aquila Private Game Reserve in the southern Karoo, has been named Osita, a name of Nigerian (Igbo) origin and meaning “from today onwards it will be better”.The public was invited to suggest names, which were shortlisted to the following six:Nusura: meaning “escaped death” or “survivor” in Swahili;Osita: (Osita di nma) meaning “from today onwards it will be better” in Igbo;Kito: meaning “a rare find, valuable and beautiful” in Swahili;Orion: the rhino was found with the constellation Orion’s Belt directly above it;Bijoux: meaning “rare jewel” in French; and,Bahati: meaning “good fortune” in SwahiliA SMS line was set up for people to vote for their favourite name.The game reserve said life would certainly be better for Osita. “Now weighing over 100 kilograms and gulping down over 20 litres of equine milk formula every day at three hourly feeds, he is strong, boisterous, mischievous and inquisitive.”Watch Osita run and play here:Osita’s handler, Divan Grobler, said the calf “walks to the beat of his own drum”.People who submitted the shortlisted names each won a day-trip safari, and the winner won a one-night stay at the lodge.Osita will have an informal naming ceremony on Valentine’s Day in the morning.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Creating a Slide Projector Transition in After Effects

first_imgThis custom After Effects transition simulates the classic look of a slide projector.A quick and easy way to add some interest to transitions between pictures in a video (especially older looking pictures) is to create a “slide projector” effect, complete with sound effects. The analog nostalgia will add interest to your transitions. The effect is actually pretty simple to create in After Effects, and even easier to apply to multiple pictures once you’ve done it the first time.I’ve created a comp at 1920×1080 with a few pictures in it. Your values for the keyframes below may vary depending on your comp’s resolution. One important note – your images need to be slightly larger than the comp. you’re going to be moving them around, so you’ll need a “bleed” on each side.Slide Transition in After EffectsTo start with, add an adjustment layer above your pictures, and add a blur effect to the adjustment layer. I used the Fast Blur for ease, but you can use whichever blur you’d like. Start by adding two keyframes at the default values of the blur. Put the first keyframe 3 frames before the beginning of the second picture (what we’ll call the “transition point”), and the second keyframe 2 frames after the transition point.Both of these keyframes are set to the default value of “0”:Next, 1 frame after the first keyframe, add a new keyframe and set the blur to 15.Now, move to the transition point and increase the blur again to 20.Now, add the Distort > “Transform” effect to the adjustment layer, and add keyframes to “Position” at the default values to the same places you did for the blur.Add a new keyframe one frame after the first, and move the position a little to the left of center. Go easy…small changes make a big difference in this effect. I did it by eye and ended up with a value around 918.I did this by eye to make it a relatively small move:Go one frame forward and add a new keyframe where the position moves about an equal distance to the right of center. I ended up at 1016.It should move about the same distance right of center that it did left of center the keyframe before:Last, skip ahead 2 frames and move it just the tiniest bit left of center. I set it to 953. It’s just barely to the left. Only about 7 pixels in the example below.That’s the whole effect! I usually do a few things to make it easier to copy from one transition to the next. First, add a layer marker at the transition point, then trim the layer to only the keyframes duration. These adjustments let you easily duplicate the layer and move it to another transition. You can use the layer marker to line it up, and it will work perfectly!It’s very easy to apply to other transitions:Here’s a look at it in action:One last thing you can do to enhance the effect is to add sound effects. PremiumBeat has several slide style sound effects that will work for this transition. I trimmed the sound effect to just the first click:You can also combine this effect with borders! Check out an example here.last_img read more

Knicks hopes on hold after Kristaps Porzingis tears ACL

first_imgSanchez reaches deal to avoid prison time in tax fraud case Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ “He is a competitor, man. That’s one thing he wants to do, get the journey started right away,” teammate Courtney Lee said. “So I think he is mentally strong and he is mentally ready to switch his focus from playing and helping us make the playoffs to now rehabbing and getting back 100 percent and helping us when he gets back.”Well-wishers around the league think he will.“Setback for a major comeback!” the National Basketball Players Association tweeted, with a photo of Porzingis. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice PLAY LIST 01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City AFP official booed out of forum Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH LATEST STORIEScenter_img 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting New York was already facing a tough climb from 11th place in the Eastern Conference, and that would have been difficult even with Porzingis carrying them.The Knicks probably would have needed to find some help by Thursday’s trade deadline, and perhaps they would have tried given Porzingis’ stated desire for a playoff push. But now they are better off playing for the lottery than the playoffs, and any moves they make would likely be with that in mind.That appeared to be the case Wednesday when they sent Willy Hernangomez, voted to the All-Rookie first team last season, to Charlotte. The Knicks got back a pair of second-round picks along with forward Johnny O’Bryant, who Perry said would be waived.“We were without second-round picks,” Perry said, “and we value first-round picks and second-round picks, but we were without picks in 2020 and 2021. So this deal allowed us to do that.”For now, the Knicks will likely give more time to rookie guard Frank Ntilikina, and Perry and Hornacek said players from the team’s G League affiliate could get opportunities.Porzingis had at least given New York reason to entertain playoff hopes in a season that started days after Carmelo Anthony was traded to Oklahoma City. Even the Knicks didn’t know if Porzingis was ready to flourish in the No. 1 role at 22.But he wanted the challenge and has been up for it, averaging 22.7 points and a league-leading 2.4 blocked shots per game.The only thing he couldn’t really do is put to rest injury concerns that often follow players at his age and size. He had missed at least 10 games in each of his first two seasons and will finish with only 48 games played in this one.He had come back stronger this season in hopes of becoming more durable and better handling the pounding in the post.Now he will have to work even harder to come back from a serious injury. An MRI revealed a torn left ACL, an injury that will sideline Porzingis for the rest of this season and perhaps a good deal of the next.“Obviously he was devastated that he has that injury and so are we,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “It’s a tough thing to have happened. He’s had such a great year and we’re trying to grow with him.”Disappointment could be felt not only in New York but around the NBA. Porzingis is a popular player for his wide array of skills at 7-foot-3 that led Kevin Durant to nickname him a “unicorn,” but also for the personality he brought to New York when he arrived in 2015 as a teenager from Latvia.“Was hoping for the best news when I saw the play after the game,” LeBron James wrote on Twitter . “Best wishes and have a speedy healthy recovery.”Porzingis was set to play on James’ team next week when he made his debut as an All-Star, and he was also set to defend his title in the Skills Challenge. He hoped to return from Los Angeles to a playoff race after not coming close in his first two seasons.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. That’s all that’s left after Porzingis was lost to a torn ACL, ending his All-Star season and probably any hopes the Knicks had of making the playoffs.They say they’ll keep playing hard, but the first trade they made after Porzingis’ injury showed they aren’t loading up for a playoff push.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Look, we want to compete every night,” general manager Scott Perry said Wednesday. “We want to continue to fight.”Porzingis had hoped they would fight all the way to the playoffs for the first time in his career. But those plans were derailed when Porzingis crashed to the court, punching the floor in pain after a dunk in the second quarter of a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis is helped off the court after being injured during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)NEW YORK — Without Kristaps Porzingis, there’s no reason for the New York Knicks to be thinking about the postseason.It’s time to look to their future.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View commentslast_img read more

Star, Alaska in key duel

first_imgBSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR The only way for Star to make it outright is for the Hotshots to beat Alaska and hope that Ginebra or San Miguel—or both—drop one game in closing out the round.But that seems highly unlikely since San Miguel and Ginebra are playing great at the moment and the Beermen are closing out against the lightweight Elite and GlobalPort on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.The Gin Kings, meanwhile, have back-to-the-wall Mahindra as their final foe also on Friday as they put a three-game winning streak on the line.The game is as important to Alaska as it is to Star as the Aces welcome Calvin Abueva back to active duty in a bid to snap a six-game losing streak.A win by Alaska would most likely put the Aces in the middle of the pack—and in a best-of-three series. A loss puts the Aces in danger of needing to win three straight knockout matches to make it to the Final Four.ADVERTISEMENT Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP ‘Time to prove yourself’ LATEST STORIES Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletescenter_img Calvin Abueva goes up for a shot. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netWith its outright place in the top two PBA Commissioner’s Cup not resting entirely in its hands, Star tries to do what it can on the floor on Wednesday before hoping that the results in the final two elimination round playdates favor the Hotshots in their twice-to-beat drive.Star takes on Alaska at 7 p.m. at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay, and the Hotshots need a win that would also put the Aces’ playoff chances in jeopardy.ADVERTISEMENT BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast MOST READ View comments San Miguel Beer, meanwhile, also steps up its top two chase when it collides with Blackwater at 4:15 p.m.The Hotshots are currently tied for the lead with idle Barangay Ginebra at 8-2, but even a win against the Aces will not guarantee them an outright quarterfinal bonus.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingStar could eventually be dragged into a playoff for the second privilege if the Gin Kings and the Beermen sweep their remaining assignments.That is because both San Miguel and Ginebra can end up with 9-2 records, and when the tiebreaker is applied, the Hotshots are in a deep predicament since their two losses came from the Beermen and the Gin Kings. BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Gameslast_img read more