The Peter Jackson-produced sci-fi flick District 9 opens in U.S. theaters this weekend, and while it features no big stars, the clever ARG and great outdoor advertising campaign have helped give the film some solid buzz. Doesn’t hurt that it’s also getting a great critical response: Rotten Tomatoes rates it a 89 percent on the Tomatometer, giving it a solid shot at becoming one of this summer’s major sleeper hits.
But if you still aren’t sure if it’s for you, skip watching the trailer — instead, check out the 2005 short film it’s based on: Alive in Joburg, directed by District 9 helmer Neill Blomkamp (who also directed Tempbot, and was going to direct the now-on-hold Halo feature film). Alive is District 9 writ small, a documentary-style look at what would have happened if, in 1990, Johannesburg, South Africa’s apartheid system was complicated by the arrival of some truly illegal aliens.
Everything down to the incredibly realistic CGI to the creature design matches with the feature film’s look and feel, but Alive in Joburg is meant more as a treatise on apartheid than a complete narrative. Six minutes in length, it’s available in full at the web site of production company Spy Films — but as their web design is a bit flawed, you may find it easier to watch on Google Video, embedded below.