Director Neill Blomkamp has made some pretty impactful films. District 9 showed us another side of what a science fiction film could be, and started pointing to the very real posibility of a Blomkamp Alien picture.
Unfortunately, hopes and dreams of his direct-to-Aliens sequel were dashed when Sir Ridley Scott stepped back in and swooped up the franchise again, tossing out Neill’s script and work for Alien: Covenant. Not one to stay down long, Neill began his next big film venture, something he’s calling an “experiment”. Oats Studios was set up to house Neill’s new short films. A set of (s0 far) three short films have been released by the youtube channel, in a collection called “Oats Studios Vol 1”.
First came Rakka, an alien-invasion concept. That was followed by Cooking With Bill, a wacky infomercial that goes terribly wrong. Yesterday, the third film from Oats was released, and Oats’ third story was released. Firebase is about something lurking in the rain forests while the Vietnam War rages on around it, think Predator meets Apocalypse Now. Or Tropic Thunder.
What’s really cool is even with these short films being released for free, true fans can purchase additional assets from each production via Steam. In a recent interview with The Verge, Neill was asked about how that part of the venture is working out for him:
You guys have the extras for Rakka up on Steam where users can buy all the 3D assets and concept act. Have you seen a lot of people buying those?
There’s been quite a lot of that. We’re basically just testing to see what data we get back, and to see if people are interested in it, more than selling them as a viable business model to pay for shorts of this scale. But in terms of the kind of collaborative, open nature of what we’re trying to do, the option to buy the DLC assets was the right way to go.
The rest of the interview goes on to talk about the production, where they filmed, where the ideas came from and a little bit more clarity from Neill about what Oats Studios is looking to do in the future.
It also looks we’ll be getting another film before too long, one that Neill says is ‘longer’, and will star Dakota Fanning. No word on when Zygote might be released.