Considered to be one of the greatest modern generation sci-fi director, Neill Blomkamp has indeed graced us with 3 stunning feature length films. District 9 being the first, and perhaps his best work, Elysium to follow, and most recently his conclusion to the Joburg Trilogy, Chappie. Perhaps you didn’t know that before his grand entrance to the blockbuster scene, he directed and produced a number of short films. The very first Imdb credit to his name, as a director is for the short film Tetra Vaal, and you can check it below, please do!vlcsnap-2016-08-23-17h32m47s291

Although this short film is just under 2 minutes in runtime, there is so much talent and hard work evident. By reducing the resolution of the video and giving the film an edgy, shaky feel, the CGI looks way more convincing. As this defence bot walks about in the poverty stricken districts of South Africa, it really does look real. Considering this short film was made in 2004, when CGI was truly at an awkward teenage stage, all credit is due for how Blomkamp was able to, with such a small budget, make it believable.


We can see the birth of all of Neill’s ideas, that have come into cinematic fruition so far. The  setting and location for Tetra Vaal, do call to mind the scenes of District 9. The design elements and idea behind the purpose of the bot made face in Elysium, and the bot itself shares a strong resemblance with the adorable Chappie.

No doubt this creative young mind is a source of great inspiration for all young film makers out there. You have to start somewhere, you have practice your game, you have to make short films to be able to one day make a full scale blockbuster. Everything is possible, dream big, work hard and enjoy!

Tetra Vaal – 2004