Though he’s taken a break from long-form filmmaking, Neill Blomkamp continues to churn out short movies at a quick pace. In the past couple of months, he’s debuted three brief works — Rakka, Firebase, and God: Serengeti – via his Oats Studio, all of which are designed to gauge interest in expanded versions of their stories. Now, he’s debuted his fourth effort, with a notable star and shouts out to a genre classic.
In Zygote (watch it above), Dakota Fanning is the last survivor at a remote Arctic research base that’s been overrun by a monstrous life form. If that sounds a lot like the basic premise of John Carpenter’s The Thing, well, you’d be right, although Blomkamp has a few surprises up his sleeve — as well as a unique monster design to help differentiate his material from its illustrious spiritual predecessor. Still, if you’ve seen some of Blomkamp’s prior shorts, or for that matter his District 9, Elysium, or Chappie, then the basic look and feel of Zygote will be instantly familiar.
Speaking recently with Jordan Zakarin at Inverse, Blomkamp explained the motivation behind Oats Studio:
“The goal was that we needed to make some form of strange, independent studio that can put ideas out into the web, and if one, or two, or 10, or 20 percent of the ideas are successful with the online audience, we can turn those into proper feature films, recoup enough money to make Volume 2, and keep going forward. And you always have an incubator, this kind of lab of ideas that you would always be putting out, which in and of itself would be really creative, and really rewarding.”
Still, he confesses that there are potential pitfalls to this approach:
“But there’s negatives that come with that. I mean, all of the pressure is on us. Financial pressure, everything. Just the logistics of setting up, like how to even do a shoot is entirely on us inside the studio.
“The other negative is, like $100 million in a studio film, you can really show the audience something really interesting and massive, you can take them on a real ride. That’s not possible for us. So the negatives are that the stories are smaller, and the scope is smaller. But that comes with no restrictions as well. That’s an upside that is greater to me than a $100 million canvas.”
To check out all of Blompkamp’s short films, head over to Oats Studio’s YouTube page.
Dakota Fanning Flashback: Watch a Clip of Her in ‘Brimstone’ With Guy Pearce:
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