Sci-fi filmmaker Neill Blomkamp is turning to Twitch to present a kind of virtual film festival of five short movies — and entreat fans to open their wallets to fund production of a feature-length version of one of them, “Firebase.”
It’s the first time a Hollywood director has used Twitch to showcase films and tap into the video-broadcasting platform’s gaming-centric audience. Blomkamp’s Oats Studios will live-stream the five short films Wednesday, April 11, starting at 11 a.m. Pacific on twitch.tv/oatsstudios.
The Oats Studios films are: “Rakka,” a 22-minute movie about an Earth enslaved by reptilian aliens starring Sigourney Weaver; “Zygote,” an Arctic-set horror short starring Dakota Fanning, which also runs about 22 minutes; “God,” a 4-minute short about a deity manipulating a tribe of prehistoric humans; 5-minute CGI film “Kapture: Fluke,” about a military-weapons manufacturing plant that uses unethical means to test its products; and “Firebase,” a 27-minute action-horror film set in an alternate sci-fi reality of the Vietnam War in which American soldiers encounter surreal, inexplicable events.
Blomkamp, the South African-born filmmaker known for feature films including “District 9” and “Elysium,” launched L.A.-based Oats Studios last year as an outlet for experimental shorts. The studio has previously released its films and other projects free to watch on YouTube, Steam and Facebook.
The screening of each film will be followed by a live audience Q&A with Blomkamp, art director Rich Simpson, and VFX supervisor Chris Harvey. Oats Studios will then direct viewers to the fundraising page for “Firebase.”
“Since Oats Studios has created a lot of films, doing a live director’s commentary for the first time on Twitch is a great way to connect with our fans from all over the world,” Blomkamp commented. On Thursday, April 12, at 9 a.m. Pacific, Blomkamp is scheduled for a Reddit AMA (ask me anything).
For Amazon-owned Twitch, Blomkamp’s mini film fest is an example of how it’s trying to broaden the platform to host live, shared viewing entertainment experiences. The Oats Studios event could lead to the first Twitch community-funded feature film, noted Twitch senior VP of content Michael Aragon: “We’re excited about the future opportunities this could unlock with Hollywood content.”
Pictured above: Steve Boyle in Oats Studios’ “Firebase,” directed by Neill Blomkamp