The 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.
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The well-marked low pressure over the Bay of Bengal intensified into a depression on December 6, raising the likelihood of heavy rainfall, coupled with squally winds in Odisha from December 8.Latest observations and satellite imageries indicate that the low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal concentrated into a depression and lay centred about 1,250 km south-southeast of Gopalpur, the met office in Bhubaneswar said.The system is likely to move northwestwards and reach the Andhra Pradesh coast around December 8 evening. It is likely to intensify further into a deep depression in the next 48 hours. However, there is a probability of slight weakening of the system when it reaches near the Andhra Pradesh coast.Under its impact, heavy rain is likely to lash coastal Odisha and several areas like Koraput and Malkangiri in southern parts of the State, while weather is expected to be by and large dry till December 7, said local met office director Sarat Chandra Sahoo.The intensity of the rainfall is expected to decline from December 11 when several areas in western Odisha and interior region would experience light to moderate rain, he said.Squally winds, with a speed of 40 to 50 kmph and gusting up to 60 kmph, are likely to prevail along and off the Odisha coast from Thursday evening to December 9 and decrease thereafter. Sea condition would be rough to very rough along and off the Odisha coast during the period, the Met office said.In view of the weather condition, fishermen along and off Odisha coast are advised not to venture into the sea from Thursday till December 10, it said.Directive to authoritiesThe Odisha government has directed district authorities to take steps to save the crops from rains.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took stock of the situation on December 5 in view of the warning issued by the met office and directed District Collectors to remain alert and take steps to save the harvested and standing paddy crops during rains.Mr. Patnaik, during a video conference with the Collectors, asked for spreading awareness among farmers about the steps required to save the harvested as well as standing paddy crops from rain.Mr. Patnaik said funds available with the Regulated Market Committees could be used for making arrangements for protection of paddy in the mandis.For paddy crops that are ready, farmers should take steps to harvest and store them in safe places, said a senior official.The Collectors were also asked to complete disbursement of agriculture input subsidy of ₹718.5 crore to the farmers affected by drought, pest attack and unseasonal rain by December 15.
Camille Muffat of France held off a strong challenge from Allison Schmitt to win the Olympic 400m women’s freestyle gold on Sunday. Muffat, a 2011 world bronze medallist, managed to fend off the American in the final 50m to win in 4 minutes, 1.45 seconds, an Olympic record.”I’m relieved and happy,” Moffat said. “I haven’t thought about all the work, I was thinking about the other swimmers and my family.””Being an Olympic champion was the most difficult dream to reach. I knew this year I was the best, but I didn’t expect to win.”Beijing bronze medallist Schmitt was 0.34 seconds behind, with Britain’s Rebecca Adlington, 2008 gold medallist in both the 200 metres and 400 metres freestyle, claiming the bronze.”I did not expect a medal,” Adlington said. “It’s a really tough race. The only disappointment is with the time.”World record holder Frederica Pellegrini of Italy was fifth.
India squandered the lead twice as Great Britain rallied to earn a 2-2 draw in the rain-delayed opening match at the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Saturday.Akashdeep Singh (19th minute) and Mandeep Singh (48th minute) scored field goals to give India the lead two times in the match but only to see the Britons hit back through Tom Carson (25th) and Alan Forsyth (52nd).India survived a last-minute penalty corner that was awarded against them for an obstruction outside the circle.The penalty corner was confirmed after the video referral by India, but British captain Phil Roper sent his drag flick wide to the right.In the last encounter between these two teams, India had defeated Great Britain 2-1 in the Champions Trophy in London last year.The match started two hours behind schedule after the teams, who were warming up, had to scurry off the turf when lightening and heavy showers arrived in the afternoon.Heavy showers and lightening have been a feature of the tropical weather this season.Since the introduction of artificial pitches, hockey is no longer affected by normal rains, but matches are stopped midway at the slightest sign on lightening to avert any threat to players and officials on the pitch.As the Indian and British players ran off the pitch and the start of the game was deferred, organisers were bracing for frequent disruptions during the week-long tournament.India are scheduled to play four of their five round- robin league matches in the afternoon, exactly when dark clouds tend to drench the pitch at the Ipoh hockey stadium.advertisementGreat Britain launched the first raid in the ninth minute and Henry Weir took a reverse shot at the goal from top of the circle, only to see goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh pad the ball away.Three minute later, India could have posed a danger to the British citadel when Akashdeep beat a defender guarding the circle with a shot that went straight to S.V. Sunil inside the scoring zone.But Sunil failed to trap the ball and British goalkeeper Harry Gibson was not tested.India were awarded their first penalty corner when Pradeep Mor’s diagonal ball landed on a defender’s foot in the circle.The penalty corner shot could not be taken as the push was not stopped, but Manpreet Singh, captain for this match, picked up the ball on the 25-metre line and sent a firm drive into the circle.Manpreet’s shot was padded by the British goalkeeper and the rebound went straight to Akashdeep, who capitalised on the chance by beating the custodian with his flick that put India in the lead in the 19th minute.The British team mounted an attack in the next minute, forcing India to pack the circle to thwart any danger. Great Britain were not to be denied the equaliser in the 25th minute when a fine foray by Ollie Willars split open the Indian defence.Dribbling parallel to the goal-line from the right flank, Willars sent a pass to Carlson, who made the most of his fine positioning by shooting into the goal.India had their second penalty corner cancelled on a video referral by Great Britain, who challenged the umpire’s view of a defender carrying the ball.When several replays could not conclusively establish if the ball had touched a defender’s foot, the video umpire reversed the decision.India reclaimed the lead in the 48th minute when Sunil relayed a narrow-angle pass from Manpreet on the left flank for Mandeep Singh, who deflected the ball past goalkeeper Gibson.India’s lead was short-lived as the determined British made the most of their 52nd minute attack even in a crowded circle.The Indian defenders were not able to clear the ball, which was switched around four Britons before Alan Forsyth’s flick beat Indian custodian Sreejesh.
Our Touch players of the future will be on show at the QSST All Schools titles from the 7th to 9th of October. With a massive 198 teams contesting the championship, around 2700 players will descend upon Whites Hill Touch complex in Brisbane, to compete for titles in five divisions. The weekend is sure to be packed full of exciting Touch as the state’s best young players battle it out for supremacy. The Open Girls title will be hotly contested with more entries than any other division. Within this competition, teams to watch closely will be Gold Coast Champs, Benowa, Rochedale, Kirwan and Marymount College. In the Open Boys division, competition favourites, Glenala from Brisbane will be challenged fiercely for the title by The Southport School, Palm Beach Currumbin and St Laurence’s College, all aiming to take home the silverware. Other divisions over the weekend are 15 years Boys and Girls, and 13 years Mixed. Queensland School Touch legend and TFA Hall of Fame member, Peter Bell is excited about the tournament and what it means for Touch in Queensland. “The large number of teams is great to see and an indication that the future of Touch Football in Queensland is in capable hands.” Due to the large number of teams, competition will commence on the Friday for the first time. Games will get underway at about 10.30am on Friday morning. Finals day will run from 8am to 3pm so make sure you get down to the Whites Hill Touch complex to check out the players of the future. By Lisa Plummer
TFA can be found on both Facebook and Twitter, as additional ways of keeping informed with all of the latest news about Touch Football from around Australia. To ‘like’ or ‘follow’ Touch Football Australia, please click on the following links: www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Touch-Football-Australia/384949403384 www.twitter.com/touchfootyaus TFA recently started distributing a fortnightly electronic newsletter to keep all members informed of the latest news and information from around Australia.To sign up to this newsletter, please click on the link below: http://send.sportingpulse.com/public/c3bdwc1111/Bpd/subscribe TFA also has a YouTube Channel, with plenty of videos to choose from, including highlights from the 2011 World Cup, the 2011 X-Blades Elite Eight and National Touch League, as well as the 2011 X-Blades National Youth Championships. Please click on the following link to view: www.youtube.com/touchfootballaus
Approximately 8,000 people will travel to Geelong over the next week to take part in the 14th Australian Masters Games. Touch Football is one of 40 sports on offer at the event, with the Touch Football component of the event being held from Sunday, 6 October through to Wednesday, 9 October. The Touch Football competition will see two divisions compete – Men’s and Mixed – at King Lloyd Reserve in Geelong. To keep up-to-date with all of the latest news and results from the Australian Masters Games, please click on the link below:www.australianmastersgames.com.au. Related LinksAustralian Masters Games
AURORA, Ont. – Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc. (TSX:MG) says it’s joining BMW and Intel Corp. to develop a self-driving system for the global vehicle marketplace by 2021.Magna says the autonomous driving technology will be flexible and adoptable for integration by multiple automakers.BMW says the Aurora, Ont.-based company has long-term experience in integrating complex systems seamlessly onto individual vehicle platforms.Magna has been a contract vehicle manufacturer for the BMW Group for more than 15 years.
Great Panther Silver Limited, (TSX: GPR NYSE.A: GPL)headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, is a profitable primary silver producer operating two 100% owned mines in Mexico. Over 94% of revenues are derived from unhedged precious metals production with approximately 74% generated from silver sales and 20% from gold. Since entering production in the first quarter of 2006, the Company has seen five consecutive annual increases in revenues and provides strong leverage to future rises in precious metals prices. The Company has also been growing its resource and reserve base at both 100% owned operations. A new resource/reserve estimate is expected for the Guanajuato Mine Complex and the San Ignacio Project in the second quarter of 2012 and a new resource/reserve estimate for the Topia Mines during the third quarter of 2012. Great Panther continues to replace mined ounces, grow resources and reserves at both operations, and is targeting a 10 year mine live at each.For more information, please visit the website or contact Rhonda Bennetto, VP Corporate Communications, toll free at 1-888-355-1766 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsor Advertisement As Ted Butler has pointed out countless times, it’s what JPMorgan et al do on the next rally that will determine how it unfolds.Gold traded within a five dollar price band through most of the Friday trading day on Planet Earth…exceeding it only briefly between 8:10 a.m. at 9:40 a.m. Eastern time. Those two times represented the high and low price ticks of the day…such as they were.I was particularly impressed by the fact that ‘free-market forces’ were able to thread the needle by closing gold on Friday in the 60 cent price gap between the Wednesday close and the Thursday close. I hope there was a prize for doing that.Gold closed on Friday at $1,642.40 spot…down twenty cents from Thursday. Net volume, at 77,000 contracts, was the lightest since I can’t remember when.Silver’s price action was rather similar to gold’s, but the price was more ‘volatile’…with the high and low price ticks come at approximately the same times as gold. The silver price actually broke through the $32 price mark on its high tick [$32.01 spot] for the second day in a row but, as you can tell, it wasn’t allowed to close anywhere near that price.Silver closed at $31.70 spot…down a dime from Thursday. Net volume was a shockingly light 19,000 contracts.The dollar index hung in around the 79.60 mark until about 10:00 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Friday morning…and then rolled over. Most of the decline was in by 10:30 a.m. Eastern time in New York…and the index basically traded sideways from there. The dollar index closed down about 34 basis points at 79.14.Four out of the five days this week, gold stocks opened in positive territory…and then quickly got sold off into negative territory regardless of the price action in gold that followed…with stock prices continuing to erode all day along. The Friday trading action was exactly that as well. The HUI closed on its low of the day, down 0.97%. In my twelve years of watching this market, I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s unnatural.Virtually all of the silver stocks finished down on the day as well…including all the stock represented in Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index. It closed down 0.17%…the same amount it closed up on Thursday.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report was a yawner, as only 11 gold contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday.There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday, but over at the SLV ETF an authorized participant withdrew 1,262,086 troy ounces of silver.For the third day in a row there was no sales report from the U.S. Mint.The Comex-approved depositories reported receiving 732,023 troy ounces of silver on Thursday…and shipped only 4,966 ounces out the door. Since Wednesday, JPMorgan’s precious metals warehouse has added another million ounce of silver to their stash, which now sits at 14.0 million ounces. The link to that action is here.The Commitment of Traders Report that came out yesterday [for positions held a the close of Comex trading on Tuesday] was basically a non-event. There was virtually no change in the Commercial net short position in silver…less than a hundred contracts but, as Ted Butler pointed out to me, the total open interest blew out by almost 7,000 contracts, so a lot of spread trades were put on during the reporting week.In gold, the Commercial traders increased their net short position by a hair over 5,000 contracts, or 500,000 ounces. Nothing to see here, folks.As expected, The Central Bank of the Russian Federation updated their website with the March numbers…and they showed that they had purchased 500,000 ounces of gold to add to the 28.3 million ounces they already held. I must admit that after seeing nothing added in January…and 100,000 ounces sold in February…I was relieved to see this number. I thank Nick Laird for his wonderful chart below.(Click on image to enlarge)Here’s a chart that Washington state reader S.A. sent our way yesterday. It’s entitled “Total Credit Market Debt Owed“…and needs no further embellishment from me.(Click on image to enlarge)Here’s an interesting story that appeared in an Australian newspaper just the other day. It includes a photo of the Perth Mint’s 10 kilogram “Year of the Dragon” gold and silver ‘coins’. I thank Australian reader Brad Ellett for sending it to me…and Australian reader Wesley Legrand for putting it in a format that I could use in this column. You’ll certainly need the ‘click to enlarge’ feature for this one.(Click on image to enlarge)I have the usual number of stories for a Saturday, including a bunch that I’ve been saving all week for today’s column. I hope you have the time to run through them all over the weekend.Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber…and as deadly as a hit man. – President Ronald ReaganToday’s ‘blast from the past’ isn’t really from the past at all…but a “60 Minutes” video that was sent to me by my father-in-law, Bill Radtke.Lesley Stahl profiles British musical savant Derek Paravicini, whose computer-like memory for music is matched by his creative abilities to play it in any style. Derek, a musical genius and nephew of Camilla Parker Bowles, plays the piano like you’ve never heard. Yet, he doesn’t know his age, nor does he know how to hold up three fingers! Also, he is blind!Having taken seven years of classical piano classes…plus having sat on the Programming Committee of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra for eleven years…I know greatness when I hear it.This is one of the most amazing videos that you’re ever likely to watch. It runs 14:22 minutes…and is posted over at youtube.com…and the link is here.Well, it was a very quiet Friday and, for the most part, a very quiet week in both gold and silver. But it wasn’t quiet because that’s what the markets in the precious metals wanted to do…it was quiet because, as Jim Rickards pointed out in his commentary above, these markets are managed.Where we go to from here is the $64,000 question for which I have no answer at the moment. Of course, if left to their own devices, the precious metals would explode the outer edges of the known universe almost instantly…and the current economic, financial and monetary system would be a smouldering ruin within five business day…as I have pointed out on many occasions.But since that won’t be allowed to happen, at least not while ‘da boyz’ have any say in the matter, we’ll probably get something quite a bit less than that.I doubt very much that this current oversold condition in the precious metals and their shares will last much longer…and it only remains to be seen how high and fast gold and silver will be allowed to rise once they break through the key moving averages.And, as Ted Butler has pointed out countless times, it’s what JPMorgan et al do on the next rally that will determine how it unfolds. Will they immediately become the short seller of last resort once again, or will they step aside and let the metals run for a bit?That, and only that, will be the deciding factor…and all we can do is wait it out. A lot of investors have already voted with their feet and their wallets and have exited the precious metals market…and as we know, any bull market tries to shake off as many non-believers as it can before making its next big move…price-managed or not. This is certainly the case here.I’m still “all in”…so nothing has changed from my end.Before signing off for the day and the week, I have this little announcement that the nice ladies over at Casey Research sent my way yesterday…and I’d like you to run through it, if you wouldn’t mind.Next week Casey’s spring summit…“Recovery Reality Check”…will be held in Florida. If you’re not registered to attend, you may want to purchase the complete audio collection (available in a 20-CD set and/or MP3 downloads) so you can listen at home. The faculty presenting includes David Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan; resource investing legend Rick Rule; Casey Research Chairman Doug Casey; Harry Dent, best-selling author of The Crash Ahead; Lacy Hunt, executive VP of Hoisington Investment Management…and 26 other financial luminaries. And they are telling me if you order before the show starts on April 27th…you’ll save $100. To learn more about the 31 financial experts and what they are presenting, you can click here…and it costs nothing to check it out.I’m outta here! Enjoy what’s left of your weekend…and I’ll see you on Tuesday.
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