There Was a “District 8” Before “District 9”

It’s called Alive In Joburg.

The creative spark for District 9 came from Alive in Joburg, a 2005 short film shot by Blomkamp in a South African township. To give the short a realistic feel, Blomkamp interviewed real people about the influx of immigrants into real-life Johannesburg; their frank answers to questions about Zimbabweans and other refugees were transformed into documentary-style commentary on extraterrestrials unwanted by a fearful local population.

“I was not intentionally trying to deceive the people we interviewed,” Blomkamp said in a press release about District 9’s South African roots. “I was just trying to get the most completely real and genuine answers. In essence, there is no difference except that in my film we have a group of intergalactic aliens as opposed to illegal aliens.”

From an article in Wired.

The much anticipated sci-fi movie has

“a giant spaceship, stranded extraterrestrials and plenty of alien technology, but it’s also an allegory about segregation.”

As Mr. Blomkamp, who grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era, tells Wired:

“Really, what I wanted to do was just mix science fiction with Africa, and that’s what District 9 is.”

It is also a film about xenophobia and racism. And a reminder of the need for sensible immigration reform.

Sounds like fun!

District 9, produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Neill Blomkamp, opens this Friday.

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