Did you know that District 9 was a short film before it became a feature? VFX Artist and commercial director Neil Blomkamp shot and created the short film, Alive in Joburg, to sell his feature length idea for District 9. After several critical raves and Academy nomination for Best Picture, I think it's safe to say that it was a success. The success of District 9 was in the story and the character arc of the film's protagonist, Wikus Van De Merwe. Alive in Joburg sold District 9 because of it's unique idea; using aliens as a metaphor for immigration, using the documentary style to ground that idea in reality, speaking with characters that speak in a common vernacular.
The most successful science fiction stories use these imaginary universes to illustrate social and political realities that would otherwise be sensational if written for the real world. The imaginary world falls apart when the story and characters fail to sell the world where they live.
VFX Artist Patrick Kalyn is trying to follow the Neil Blomkamp method by creating a short film to sell a feature idea. He has just posted his short, Solmnolence, on YouTube to generate interest. Through his professional contacts, he has access to the best equipment: shot on RED, music composer for Assassin's Creed, sound mixing at Skywalker Ranch. However, this film, in my opinion, fails to be successful.
The acting is unbelievable. The dialogue is simple and expository. The plot is difficult to follow. The characters are forgettable.
I have posted both films below for you to watch and make your own judgments. Do you think Solmolence will be picked up for a feature? Let us know what you think.