Published September 26, 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
Updated: April 12, 2013.
Little is known about Vancouver writer and director Neill Blomkamp’s latest sci-fi project Elysium, which has been filming here for the past three months, except that it makes good use of our city’s visual effects expertise and stars a bald, buff Matt Damon as some kind of future being.
It’s not surprising about the visual effects if you know that Neill Blomkamp dabbled in 3D animation and design as a teen in South Africa and then studied it at the Vancouver Film School when his family moved here. After graduation, he worked as a 3D artist for two local visual effects companies, while branching into directing live-action shorts. He returned to his birthplace of Johannesburg to film his Oscar-nominated first feature District 9 about extra-terrestials (“Prawns”) kept in an Apartheid-like government camp. Despite his international success, Blomkamp is still based here and a proud booster of the local film industry. For example, the post-production work on Elysium will be done in Vancouver next year instead of being farmed out overseas like it usually is.
So what is Elysium about? That remains a mystery but “We’re Building the Future and We Need You” signs for a spaceship construction company Armadyne popped up at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego, part of a viral campaign similar to the one done for District 9 at an earlier Comic-Con. Armadyne dot net is looking for mega-construction engineers, zero g welders, quantum networkers and experts in zero g coupling and multi-generational planning to build a massive space station that can house an entire colony of people — “Taking Mankind into the Future.” Last month I watched Elysium film scenes of a much smaller spaceship, with Matt Damon inside, crash-landing on a mansion facade and lush garden set at a vast gravel field at Kent and Boundary in Vancouver, often used by film crews for green and blue-screen filming. [This turned out to be the Elysium space station where the 1 per-centers of 2054 live.]
The blue rectangles are the spaceship, the fake palm trees have no fronds, and the small piles of sand seem to represent [a beach on Elysium]. Some might complain I’m undoing movie magic with photographs like these, but the contrastRead More »BIG READ: Matt Damon’s Spaceship Crashes on ELYSIUM – Updated