Neill Blomkamp’s Short Films

In 2017, South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp founded the independent Oats Studio. The aim of the studio was to create a series of short experimental films that were made available for free on YouTube and other platforms. Based on viewer reactions, it was then decided which short films had the potential to become feature ones.


These shorts feature famous faces (Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Coplay, Dakota Fanning, etc.) and each of them is based on a very original and surprising premise. The film block will be introduced by the director Neill Blomkamp himself.


After the screening, there will be a discussion about the specifics of creating short films and experiences in the film industry.


Firebase Director: Neill Blomkamp Cast: Tyler Johnston, Robert Hobbs, Pat Mastroianni Year: 2017 Length: 27 min Origin: Canada


The war in Vietnam is raging and both armies are counting their losses. However, each side has an ace up its sleeve. A unique living weapon. Is it a soldier, a science experiment… or something else entirely?


Rakka Director: Neill Blomkamp Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Eugene Khumbanyiwa, Robert Hobbs, Carly Pope, Brandon Auret Year: 2017 Length: 22 min Origin: Canada


Our planet has been colonized by a hostile alien race. Some of humanity is trying to resist, the rest are either enslaved or collaborating and serving the planet’s new ruler. But in the darkest of hours, hope shines the brightest!


Zygote Director: Neill Blomkamp Cast: Dakota Fanning, Jose Pablo Cantillo Year: 2017 Length :23 min Origin: Canada


A mining complex in the Arctic discovers a dangerous and deadly life form that has already consumed the entire crew. Except for the last two survivors who are not about to give up without a fight!


Demonic

Carly and Angela are daughter and mother who are not exactly on speaking terms. When Carly gets a call from the hospital where Angela lies in a coma with scars on her arms, she reluctantly agrees to an experiment: with the help of a computer simulation, she can talk to her mother. Unfortunately, by doing so, she wakes up demonic forces that will prove hard to stop. Neill Blomkamp’s newest film promises an intense combination of ghost horror and suspenseful sci-fi thriller. The renowned director will personally introduce Demonic at the Future Gate festival – and that’s not all. Blomkamp will also introduce a couple of his previous films, including the now legendary District 9.

In the Shadows

Zait is working under the daily surveillance of primitive technology. To fit in the system means to survive. Something happens one day that forces Zait to start to slowly doubt the system. He certainly won’t like the things he will discover – the question is, what can one single man standing against oppressive machinery do? The Turkish feature film In the Shadows, starring amazing Numan Acar, is a post-apocalyptic bite-sized snack that poses as a metaphor for clinical depression and as a criticism of capitalism.

Lapsis

In a parallel present, deliveryman Ray tries to make a living and financially support his sick brother. After a series of unsuccessful scams, Ray picks up a new job in a novelty, strange field of the gig economy: he installs kilometres of cables in secluded woods and hills alongside other workers. The cables are supposed to connect huge metal cubes that, put together, create a new Quantum market. When Ray gets deeper into the zone, he’s met with growing animosity and the threat of robotic cable layers, and has to make a decision – either to help his coworkers or get rich and get out. Lapsis is a clever and entertaining story of exploitation on which technological companies often rely to uphold their shiny facades.

Alien on Stage

There’s no need to introduce Ridley Scott’s Alien as it’s one of the pivotal films of the science fiction genre that gained fans all over the world. One unusual group from England with a great love for the piece got a truly crazy idea – to produce an eponymous theatre play on a measly budget. What came to be is impossible to describe in words, you just have to see it!

A captivating and entertaining documentary by director duo Danielle Kummer and Lucy Harvey follows the realization of the dramatic idea from the initial rehearsed readings and stage set design to the premiere in the West End Theatre in London. This documentary will prove that, sometimes, all you truly need is a sufficient portion of resourcefulness, to be a dedicated fan and, mainly, to have big enough courage to bring an insane idea to life!

Back to Chernobyl

The greatest catastrophe in the history of nuclear energetics that occurred on 26th April 1986 is known to nearly everyone. This nuclear emergency was the most enormous failure of technology in the history of humankind and took place at what is now part of Ukraine near the town of Chernobyl. Thirty-five years have passed since this technological and human disaster happened but that doesn’t stop us from coming back. Among us, there are still people who not only remember this fateful event and were lucky enough to survive it but also contributed to lessening the impacts of the explosion. Many of them have fought an invisible but extremely insidious enemy, bore witness to shocking scenes, risked their lives. They saved not only Europe but the whole world from the horrifying consequences of a nuclear disaster that poses, even though it might not seem likely, a threat even in times of today’s modern civilization.

Paul WR’s Last Journey

Humankind has a problem. The climatic change has struck Earth with full force. The majority of wild animals has gone extinct, the reserves of oil, coal and gas have run dry. Worse still, a red moon appeared in the sky that keeps getting dangerously closer and poses a collision threat. A mysterious astronaut Paul W.R. (Hugo Becker) is sent on a rescue mission with the goal to destroy the celestial body. But Paul literally vanishes into thin air just a few hours prior to the launch. Where did he go? But most importantly – why? The ambitious, visually captivating debut of director and screenwriter Romain Quirot will make you ponder death and redemption, and proves that the French can really make great sci-fi.

In Silico

The brain – by far the most complex structure in the known universe that harbours many, for us still unsolvable secrets. During the unimaginably long period of ongoing evolution on planet Earth, there came to life a highly organized cluster of 100 billion nerve cells (neurons), which led all the way to the creation of consciousness in us humans. Contemporary neuroscience still knows very little about the brain’s processes but that doesn’t mean we should stop the fascinating research. With great determination, the world’s leading neurologist, Henry Markram, also took up the task – in 2009, he announced to the world his ambitious plan to create a digital copy of a functional brain within a supercomputer’s mainframe in the course of ten years…

Oeconomia

Most of today’s currency doesn’t have a physical form. That means, for example, that if all people decided to withdraw from their bank accounts at the same time, the currently existing banknotes and coins wouldn’t be sufficient. So, where did the numbers that express the value in our bank accounts originate from and where does money itself come from? The Oeconomia documentary by German director Carmen Losmann investigates the core of the current financial system, examines the paradoxes of incessant economic growth, and defines the outlines of a system and its mechanisms that, besides other things, contribute to economic inequality among the inhabitants of our globalized planet. We will follow the trail of the issue itself but also point to its cause – the leading executives of concerns and banks who don’t even know how their system works in the end. Because the source of all additional money, covering the profits and the overall economic growth – is debt.

The Rise of Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is a science fiction subgenre – the world of technological wonders, artificial intelligence, and cybernetics, set in contrast with societal decay. The roots of cyberpunk can be found in the sci-fi movement of the 60s and 70s called New Wave, which featured such names as Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, Harlan Ellison or William Gibson. In this 90-minute sequel to the film The Origins of Cyberpunk, we will think back on the amazing blockbusters of the 90s such as Total Recall (1990), Screamers (1995), Terminator 2 (1991), Ghost in the Shell (1995), Robocop 2 (1990), Demolition Man (1993) or Judge Dredd (1995). Video games also won’t be forgotten – look forward to Final Fantasy VII, Shadowrun, Syndicate, Blade Runner Game and many others.

Undergods

Mums were always telling us not to talk to strangers. Let alone invite them into our homes. Don’t do it because things might end up awry. So far, director Chino Moya has mostly dedicated his talent to shooting music videos; he is behind, for example, clips for Years & Years or singer/songwriter St. Vincent. His feature film debut, Undergods, is a sombre mosaic of several human fates that will lead the viewer through various corners of dystopian Europe. The film comes across as a confused, almost uncomfortably realistic dream from which you can’t wake up. Its stiflingly familiar and, in many aspects, authentic atmosphere will pull you in.

The Rise of the Synths

The synth culture lived through its resurrection in 2011 thanks to Drive. The music genre has been around since the end of the 80s, though. It accompanied us in arcade video games, old B-rated films, and legends such as Blade Runner. The Rise of the Synths is a music documentary by Iván Castello with the voice of John Carpenter, a world-famous director (The Thing), guiding us through and showcasing the greatest musicians and artists of the genre. Names such as Carpenter Brut, Power Glove, Perturbator and many more will introduce themselves surrounded by a neon glow. From where did they draw inspiration and what’s the reason the style is becoming increasingly popular across the cultural sector? Sit down comfortably, a great colourful and rhythmic ride that shook the music industry is about to begin.

District 9

The on-screen encounters of humans and aliens have multiple outcomes – peaceful enrichment, a bloody war, and even the end of the world. But what if humankind decided that chasing the extraterrestrial visitors off to a refugee camp in Johannesburg would be for the best? The debut of South African director Neill Blomkamp presents this premise in a very physical way: the aliens, derogatorily called “Prawns” by humans, are degraded to beings of the lowest category, and the film is oftentimes reminiscent of a raw war drama rather than classic sci-fi. Nevertheless, it shook the genre in such a way hardly any film managed to in the past fifteen years.

Elysium

Elysium means paradise but only for a few chosen ones. In the eponymous 2013 film by Neill Blomkamp, it’s a name of a space station where the richest have taken refuge so they didn’t have to suffer on the plundered Earth. The year is 2154 and the poor have nothing to lose and so they, under the leadership of labourer Max (Matt Damon), decide to make technological luxuries accessible to all. Elysium is a dystopian social drama thematizing inequality or immigration – motives that have been appearing in sci-fi since Metropolis. At the same time, it’s a visually attractive sci-fi thriller, which hasn’t lost any of its urgency since the release.

Mad Max

The 2015 Fury Road reminded all of two sci-fi icons: director George Miller and his cinematic offspring, Mad Max. Let’s forget Tom Hardy for a moment and take a look at how it all began. As early as 1979, Miller let Max, a law-abiding policeman at the time, catch rogue gangsters. But a fast-paced chain of events turned a decent man into a desperate outcast who’s left only with anger and a thirst for revenge. Bear witness to the birth of a legend that not only jump-started Max’s cult special V-8 Pursuit but also Mel Gibson’s career, and outlined a gruesomely realistic vision of the post-apocalyptic world.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

He’s back and couldn’t care less. The civilization crumbled and the remnants of humankind are split into those who have fuel and those who will do anything to get it. Somewhere in between, there’s Max Rockatansky, a former policeman, now a renegade in a ragged uniform, aimlessly cruising through the Australian outback. When Max stumbles upon a small oil refinery that’s being harassed by a biker gang led by masked Humungus, he helps the inhabitants in the unfair fight under the promise of juice. George Miller’s gasoline-scented lifework gained international recognition thanks to this sequel. Buckle up, this ride might just throw you out of your seats!

Short Sci-fi Films from iShorts

The short-film programme brings futuristic visions of young Czech and international filmmakers. Via the short-film format, we will become participants in a space experiment, get stuck in a time loop, and will learn how to programme our ideal lovers in a dystopian setting. The thematically varied block that isn’t lacking in hyperboles and inspiration was made possible, as always, in cooperation with iShorts.

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Amor Labori Director: David Stejskal Cast: Milan Matyáš Deutsch, Anna Skladchikova, Veronika Bellová, Jan Parma, Tomáš Kucuk Year: 2020 Length: 10 min Origin: ČR


Can robots fall in love with one another? It is possible for us to fall in love with a robot? In the future.


Colour of Your Lips Director: Annick Blanc Cast: Alexis Lefebvre, Katia Lévesque Year: 2018 Length: 18 min Origin: Canada


The air suddenly stopped to be breathable and the only survivors are a diver and a woman. Air reserves are slowly growing thin and it is vital to solve the question whether these two will fall in love or start a war.


Being Human Director: Tomáš Krejčí Cast: Laura Besserová, Prokop Pršala Year: 2021 Length: 15 min Origin: Czech republic


During a romantic horse ride, Laura and Prokop experience the apocalypse. After some time spent in a hiding place, their relationship is put to a difficult test when they have to travel the barren land, trying to survive.


Episode 11 Director: Viktor Svoboda Cast: Marek Libert, Matěj Havelka Year: 2019 Length: 9 min Origin: Czech republic


Space hero Hart is captured by enemy robots. His son loses both a father and the right arm during the attack. Now he has to rescue Hart from those metal clutches before it is too late. The eleventh episode of a sci-fi series that doesn’t exist (yet). An action adventure working with the concept of an expanded fictional universe with a striking colour stylization.


Decommissioned Director: Josh Tanner Cast: David Normand, Joey Vieira Year: 2021 Length: 6 min Origin: Australia


A horrifying anomaly will surprise an astronaut at an international space station.


Loop Director: Stuart Langfield Cast: Michael J.Rogers, Valeriia Polishchuk, Tatenda Hatugari Year: 2021 Length: 13 min Origin: Canada


We find ourselves somewhere in the first half of the 21st century. David Hilton, a retired director of a technological company, tries to teach artificial intelligence how to experience genuine human emotions.


Zari Director: Courtney Marsh Cast: Laura Quesinberry Uchida, Chris Connell, William Joseph Hill Year: 2014 Length: 18 min Origin: USA


In the near future, a landlady’s robot starts to adjust to the world around it.


Memories

In the second half of the 90s, founder of the legendary 4°C Studio Koji Morimoto, director of the cult film Akira Katsuhiro Otomo, and creator of series Gods of Death and Darker than Black Tensai Okamura met to create an anthology film called Memories. Three animated stories offer a different genre each; the first and most critically acclaimed Magnetic Rose is an eerily poetic story of love and loneliness. The second, Stink Bomb, paints a humorous portrait of a man who becomes a foul-smelling biological weapon by accident. And the final Orwellian Cannon Fodder is shot in a specific way, to give the impression of a single long, uninterrupted scene.

Sky Sharks

They are ravenous, have properly sharp teeth, sail through the air, and on their backs, they carry… zombies with swastikas on the sleeves of their uniforms? German director Marc Fehse brings forth a crazy vision in which Nazis plan to conquer the world with the help of a secret weapon – genetically modified flying sharks. Humankind can be saved only by special troops of resurrected US soldiers who have fallen in Vietnam. Yes, it’s exactly as insane as it sounds. And also fairly bloody! “Sky Sharks are like the baby of Iron Sky and Death Snow born out of wedlock,” wrote critic Martin Unsworth about the film. We can confirm that’s a good fit!

Sonic the Hedgehog

He is the fastest in all known worlds but has no friends. He can’t because no one can catch up. Sonic the Hedgehog, a cult comic and gaming character, celebrated his first feature film in 2020. The motion picture by Jack Fowler was met with controversy since the very start – the fans weren’t too happy with the first look of their favourite blue hero. The negative response was so strong the Sonic character was completely redone. The result is an entertaining spectacle with bonus points for wonderfully diabolical Jim Carrey cast as Doctor Robotnik. The screening planned on (datum) is the perfect opportunity to “stash away” your kids, younger siblings or even yourself. Sonic the Hedgehog will delight anyone who has ever played the legendary Sega game.

Student sci-fi film competition

A new addition to the programme is a block of student competition films through which we would like to connect the festival with the filmmaking community even more.


In the short films series, we will see various near-future scenarios from different points of view, some alternative history, and examples of interplanetary communication. All by using different techniques and genres but also fresh narrative approaches.


Ajznboňák Director: Jakub Vrbík, Patrik Balonek, Matěj Sláma School: Filmová a televizní fakulta Akademie múzických umění v Praze Year: 2020 Length: 14 min


In a not-so-distant future in the rubble of a collapsed society, there survives a man dreaming of an ordinary life… or is it just an unfulfilled train dispatcher, longing for a life in a world of action?


Breaktime Director: Martin Bystrianský School: Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně Year: 2020 Length: 17 min


A sci-fi story that transitions from the real world into a VR game. Lori must confront her father’s killer. Ironically, a fictional space reveals the whole truth.


Girls don’t cry Director: Fýr Romu School: Filmová a televizní fakulta Akademie múzických umění v Praze Year: 2020 Length: 13 min


Hana is at her wit’s end. She’s carrying Jared’s baby but she feels hate and has no choice. They tell her to shut up and listen. But she defiantly takes her fate into her own hands.


I Heard the Moon-Lady Weaving Director: Vasco Viana School: Filmová a televizní fakulta Akademie múzických umění v Praze Year: 2020 Length: 9 min


A cosmic drifter receives a mysterious message on his radio as his ship heads towards collision with the Sun.


The Isolator Director: Matěj Hrudička School: Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně Year: 2020 Length: 12 min


In a fictional Prague at the turn of the 19th and 20th century lives a young scientist. He is working on an invention that will help with concentration regardless of the noise of the metropolis – the Isolator.


Ant hill Director: Marek Náprstek School: Filmová a televizní fakulta Akademie múzických umění v Praze Year: 2020 Length: 14 min


The story of the end of humanity from the perspective of ants. Rebellious worker K99980335 longs for a different future. When her dream suddenly comes cruelly true, it’s too late to take it back.


The Outer Space Diplomacy Director: Vojta Kočí School: Vysoká škola uměleckoprůmyslová Year: 2020 Length: 2 min


The short film created in three weeks as a school assignment is a brief comment on the anthropocentric character of the act of interstellar colonization.