Image credit: Oat Studios
Neill Blomkamp, who directed District 9, Chappie, and Elysium, has announced the formation of Oat Studios, a production team that will, under the director’s guidance, tell short sci-fi stories that explore more complex themes than you’ll see in the standard Hollywood blockbuster. This announcement comes alongside a trailer for what the studio is calling Volume 1, a collection of short films that will be released via the online gaming platform Steam. Check it out:
It looks like there’s an invasion story, wherein lizard aliens take over Earth, strip humanity of its identity, and reduce the population to slaves. This gives off a distinct District 9 vibe, and it’s likely that Blomkamp is returning to the idea of aliens as a way of exploring race relations and political struggles.
There’s a story about military troops encountering some kind of zombie violence which looks like it might be a metaphor for the Vietnam War, but which, we have to assume, will have some kind of twist, as commentary on that particular political event isn’t exactly timely.
Finally, there appears to be a horror film set on a spaceship. Blomkamp was at one point tapped to direct an Alien sequel with Sigourney Weaver, but Ridley Scott is pretty convinced that this will never happen. This being the case, we might be seeing the remnants of Blomkamp’s ideas for Alien 5 here, albeit reworked into an original story.
If, instead of pursuing the big budget sci-fi horror dream, Blomkamp is going to explore smaller, more nuanced stories, then there’s no denying that the science fiction genre will benefit as a whole. These stories, more than anything that’s been produced by a big-name movie studio, have the chance to tell unique, offbeat stories that break the overly familiar mold we see in most sci-fi stories for the big screen.
As great as it might have been to see Blomkamp’s take on the Alien franchise, Oat Studios Volume 1 looks to be a far more noteworthy contribution to the science-fiction genre, and a better way to use sci-fi horror to tell powerful stories that can speak to audiences on an emotional level.