Neill Blomkamp's Oats Studios Plans to Circumvent Hollywood and Bring Indie Sci-Fi to the Fans

Thursday, 06 July 2017 - 11:05AM
Thursday, 06 July 2017 - 11:05AM
Neill Blomkamp's Oats Studios Plans to Circumvent Hollywood and Bring Indie Sci-Fi to the Fans
Image credit: Oats Studios
We've been big fans of the films coming out of Oats Studios so far. Now, Neill Blomkamp may just have stumbled upon the perfect way to approach crowdfunding—with his Oats Studios short films, he's going to do things the drug dealer way, by giving audiences just enough free content to get them hooked before charging for subsequent material.

The director of Disrict 9 and Chappie apparently hasn't entirely thought through his plan for his currently self-funded sci-fi shorts just yet, but he's considering different ways to make them work as a long-term business venture. Either he'll let audiences have Volume 1 of his movies for free, then start charging for subsequent Volumes, or he'll do several volumes of these shorts, find the most popular idea, and expand it into a full theatrical movie that will (hopefully) justify the expense of what's come before. He's already released Rakka, Firebaseand now he's released the new trailer for Zygote:



It's certainly a novel funding structure, and is not without its risks, but at the same time, if it means we get more of these fantastic short, experimental movies, it's definitely worth chipping in a few bucks to fund future films.

It's easy to see why Blomkamp might be frustrated with the more traditional experience of working with corporate systems to make movies. After his Alien sequel was cancelled and Chappie underperformed at the box office, the director is fully justified in wanting to take some time to make smaller, more intimate independent movies that he has more control over. At the same time, though, apparently Blomkamp isn't entirely done with the big budget Hollywood machine:

Opening quote
"Working in a studio environment for huge films, that really are $100 million films, makes sense to me. It's something that I want to go down the road of doing. But I think there's another space where technology is opening up the way you can distribute and interact with audience members and there seems to be a way where it may be possible to live in an ecosystem where you can be creative as you wanna be and know whether you've succeeded or failed based on how the audience feels about things–to make stuff, see if it works or not, and be surprised by the ones that work and surprised by the ones that fail."
Closing quote


Sounds like we'll see the director returning to enormous, studio-overseen blockbusters sooner or later, and that's probably fine. For the moment, though, it's hard not to enjoy a period of getting to see a lot of shorter, more innovative sci-fi stories that do more than most theatrical films to push the genre and try out new ideas. Considering that the movies released so far have already amassed several million views, it seems like there's definitely an audience for these more experimental movies.

If he can reach a large enough audience, Blomkamp might just see his plans for future crowdfunding projects achieve the success that he's aiming for. Godspeed, Oats Studios!
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