World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Alive in Joburg

Article Id: WHEBN0023306500
Reproduction Date:

Title: Alive in Joburg  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: District 9, Neill Blomkamp, List of African Academy Award winners and nominees, Sharlto Copley, 82nd Academy Awards
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Alive in Joburg

Alive in Joburg
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Produced by Sharlto Copley
Simon Hansen
Written by Neill Blomkamp
Starring Sharlto Copley
Jason Cope
Dawie Ackermann
Music by Clinton Shorter
Drazen Bosnjak
Cinematography Trevor Cawood
Ozan Biron
Spy Films
Distributed by Spy Films
Release dates
  • September 6, 2006 (2006-09-06) (L'Étrange Festival)
Running time 5 minutes
Country Canada
Language English

Alive in Joburg is a 2006 science fiction short film directed by Neill Blomkamp, produced by Simon Hansen, Sharlto Copley and Carlo Trulli as Executive Producer of Spy Films in Canada. It runs approximately six minutes long and was filmed in Johannesburg, South Africa with soundtrack featuring composer sound designer Drazen Bosnjak's "Harmonic Code". The film explores themes of apartheid and is noted for its visual effects as well as its documentary-style imagery. Blomkamp's 2009 feature film District 9, starring Copley, expands themes and elements from this short film.

Plot and themes

In 1990, Johannesburg is home to a number of extraterrestrial refugees, whose large spaceships (estimated to be nearly one kilometre in length) can be seen hovering above the city. When the visitors arrived, the human population was enamored with, among other aspects, the aliens' advanced "bio-suits", and supposedly welcomed them with open arms. However, later, the aliens began moving into other areas of the city, committing crimes in order to survive, and frequently clashing with the police. Playing as a documentary, the film continues, complete with interviews and footage taken from handheld cameras, highlighting the growing tension between the civilian population and the visitors, especially once the ships began to steal electricity and other resources from the city.

According to individuals "interviewed" in the film, the aliens were captive labor (slaves or indentured servants), forced to live in "conditions that were not good" and had escaped to Earth. Because the film takes place in 1990, while apartheid was still in effect in South Africa, the aliens were forced to live amongst the already-oppressed black population, causing conflict with them as well as the non-white and white populations.

All of the interview statements which do not explicitly mention extraterrestrials were taken from authentic interviews with many South Africans who had been asked their opinions of Zimbabwean refugees.[1]

The aliens

The alien species in Alive in Joburg are never named, speak in an undefined language, and are frequently referred to simply as "them" or "the aliens". One citizen referred to them as "the poleepkwa". In their biosuits, they resembled bipedal, humanoid robots. Outside of their suits, their most obvious non-human features are a lack of hair and ears, and protruding tentacles where a human's mouth would be. In the film, the area where one would expect eyes to be is pixelated, though in a later scene an alien with unpixelated eyes is shown.

One scene early in the film, shown as television news footage, shows an alien wearing a mecha-suit fending off an attack by two police officers by throwing vehicles at them.


On August 14, 2009, Sony Pictures released a film adaptation entitled District 9 directed by Neill Blomkamp with executive production by Peter Jackson, and featuring Sharlto Copley and Jason Cope, who also were involved in Alive in Joburg. District 9 was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.


  1. ^ Woerner, Meredith. "5 Things You Didn't Know About District 9", Io9, 19 August 2009.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.