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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

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

LG V40 ThinQ set to launch in New York on October 3

first_imgThe word is out. Korean tech giant, LG, has started sending invites for the global debut of its upcoming flagship device- LG V40 ThinQ. The company will unveil the device at a special event in New York on October 3 and in Seoul on October 4.Along side revealing the launch date of its next V-series smartphone, the Korean electronics giant has also shared a 10-second-long video clip that shows images being captured from three different angles. This could indicate that the phone could sport a triple-camera setup at the back, a feature that rumours circulating about the phone have touted for long.Besides having a triple rear camera setup, the phone is also rumoured to sport a dual camera setup with an 8MP and a 5MP sensor in the front. The front camera is likely to support 3D face unlocking technology.As far as other specifications are concerned, the upcoming LG V40 ThinQ is likely to sport a 6.4-inch quad HD POLED notched display with IP68 water and dust resistant technology. It is expected to be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip and run on either on Android 8.0 Oreo or Android 9 Pie. In terms of memory, the device is likely to sport 6GB RAM with either 64GB or 128 GB storage space.The phone is also likely to come feature support for Quad DAC and Stereo Speaker Boombox audio technologies and come with a 3,300mAh battery.If the rumours are to be believed, the upcoming LG V40 ThinQ will measure 158.7×75.8×7.79 mm. It will have a fingerprint sensor which is placed vertically beneath the horizontally stacked cameras. The phone is expected to sport think bezels on the top and button and come with a dedicated button for Google Assistant, just like G7 Plus, which will be placed on the left side of the phone.advertisementALSO READ: LG V40 ThinQ inches closer to launch after FCC certificationMeanwhile, earlier this week, the phone was certified by the Korean National Radio Research agency and Global Certification Forum. And now the phone has been certified by the FCC in the US. As per the reports, LG could work with all the network operators in the US including, Verizon and Sprint, to bring its flagship device to the market.last_img read more