The District 9 director, Neil Blomkamp, is creating new Sci-Fi his way…
Oats Studios – Rakka
is the first official release from the filmmaking collective.
Director Neill Blomkamp
, known for his ultra-realistic style in films District 9
, felt the need for creativity without the constraining limits of time and budget. He founded Oats Studio based on that concept. The native South African filmmaker wants to see if an experimental film can succeed on public backing. The studio is not all Sci-Fi either. It appears they have been working on some crazy ideas like a comedic puppet show that they plan to release without voices and let the audience come up with the dialogue. The studio is open to development of practically anything.
Rather than a traditional proof of concept for big studios, Blomkamp’s Rakka is a short concept film seeking the input and support of the public. The success or failure of the project is up to the audience. The concept films are to be released in volumes, Volume one, Rakka, is available now on YouTube, Steam, and Oats Studios website.
interviewed Neill Blomkamp by phone last week and got his input on the how and why of Oats Studios:
Blomkamp – Oats is an “incubator of ideas that come from me or come from other people,” then they “put out those ideas to the audience, see how the audience feels about them.”
“I’m trying to be creative in an unrestrained way.”
Neill went on to explain that after making Chappie, he wanted to find a way to be totally creative without worrying about the massive costs, time (years), and constraints involved with making a full-length feature. So they came up with Oats Studios, and part of the challenge is figuring out how to make it financially sustainable. Viewers can give their money on Steam
to projects they like, and in doing so may end up getting certain assets that you can’t get for free – including (possibly) PDFs of concept art, raw footage, 3D VFX models, and pieces of the score/music. They may even listen to feedback from the audience and take their ideas and integrate them in the future (potentially with revenue share). It’s fully experimental, creative, and open in a way we rarely see in the filmmaking world.
It’s designed to be completely open source – they’ll listen to all the feedback, pitches, ideas, complaints, criticism, compliments and anything that anyone has to say – whether it be on Twitter or in emails.Neill admitted to me that he reads everything anyone says online. “I will read the shit out of everything”. They took over a warehouse in Vancouver that used to be a kitchen appliance store, and found a team of talented individuals to run the studio. Everything is under one roof – from wardrobe to production design to VFX to editing. Their goal is to produce four unique short projects for each “Volume”, with Volume 1 close to completion already.
With every aspect of production/distribution under one roof, they’re able to keep costs low, but it still costs money to run an entire studio. This is why the success and future of Oats rests entirely on the audience, and their reaction, as well as their willingness to support the idea.
Neill explains: “We need to figure out how to get enough capital back from the audience to stay around. Or we have to shut the doors. And we have to do that in a way where they don’t feel like I’m just charging them for totally, weird, experimental films that don’t fit into any normal category. They have to choose to do it. And if they choose to do it, it’s because they like it. So I’m kind of hoping that people like it. I can’t force people to like it. But if they feel like there’s value in the entire endeavor, then get behind us.”
You can support through their website or at Steam
Rakka is a near future dystopia nightmare. Humanity is being exterminated and experimented on by invading reptilian-like aliens known as the Klum. They have destroyed the land, the water and are pumping methane gas into our atmosphere. Of mankind, millions are dead at the hands of the invaders and the apocalyptic destruction of our planet, The Klum enslaving survivors through psychic warfare and making them victims of horrific biological testing by the Klum and their metallurgic technology. A few of the toughest survivors are fighting back. Looking for a way to defeat them. To understand their technology and the power they have over the human mind. They created brain blockers so they can fight them, but resources are too scarce, and an escaped human from one of the experimental facilities, now a hybrid, may offer the one thing to save the remains of the human race.
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Mike Blomkamp-executive producer
Steven St. Arnaud-producer
Music by Lorne Balfe
Cinematography by Mannie Ferreira
Casting By Kara Eide and Kris Woz
Art Direction by Bobby Cardoso