Last month, director Neill Blomkamp teased his Oats Studios venture, though which he and his team would create a series of “experimental” short films that would be released on platforms like YouTube and Steam. Now, the first of those shorts has arrived, and the man best known for the sci-fi spectacle District 9 has not disappointed his fans. His initial Oats Studios output is “Rakka,” an intense and macabre thriller that stars iconic actress Sigourney Weaver.
In “Rakka,” Weaver portrays a member of a resistance movement that is fighting back against a horde of telepathic extraterrestrials who have successfully conquered Earth. Harkening back to her role in the Alien franchise, Weaver delivers a forceful, alien-splattering performance, but the real star of “Rakka” is Blomkamp, who displays his technical brilliance. In terms of its directing, cinematography, and special effects, “Rakka” is as good as any independent project on YouTube.
Blomkamp wants to share more short films under the Oats Studios banner, but in order to accomplish that goal, he and his team will need to receive help from their fans. A deluxe version of “Rakka,” which includes scripts, concept art, and several other goodies, is available through Steam, where it costs $4.99. Oats is also soliciting donations through its website, where it has shared a message beseeching fans to give what they can. “Our wish is to receive funding sourced directly from our audience, as we establish a studio fuelled [sic] by pure creativity and passion,” the message reads. “We have many, many more worlds to create and stories to tell, but we need help from people around the globe. Our goal is to create Volumes 2, 3, and more, and eventually, full scale-scale features.”
It is Blomkamp’s hope that the support he receives will allow him to unlock a new model for financing and distributing films. “I’m not rallying against Hollywood studios,” he said during an interview with Geoff Keighley at E3. “I’m just trying to figure out if there’s a different way to have a one-on-one relationship with the audience that ultimately is watching, and hopefully enjoying, the work that I’m doing.”
“Rakka” is certainly strong enough to put Oats on the radar, and given that the short film has received hundreds of thousands of views in its first day of activity, the future looks promising for Blomkamp and his associates. Keep an eye on the Oats Studios YouTube channel to see what sorts of visually-stirring sci-fi the company serves up next.