District 9, which has been nominated for seven British awards (BAFTAs), and four Academy Awards, is creating an important awareness of South Africa as a film location as well as of SA's technical and creative abilities.

District 9
So says production manager, South African line producer, and owner of the Service Company, Steven St. Arnaud.

For the BAFTAs, three  films boast eight nominations each: Avatar, An Education and The Hurt Locker with District 9 just behind with seven, followed by Up In The Air and Inglorious Basterds with six. The British awards are handed out two weeks before the Academy Awards in Hollywood and considered an important indicator of likely Oscar success.

South African director Neill Blomkamp's District 9 is a tale about extraterrestrials forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth, and won Blomkamp a best director nomination. The film also did well in the technical categories, with nominations for cinematography, adapted screenplay, editing, production design, sound and special visual effects.

St. Arnaud comments: "As South Africans we should all be proud of the film and its successes. Even though the film did not necessarily show South Africa in the best light, as a Hollywood blockbuster it did however create an important awareness of South Africa as a film location - and of our technical and creative abilities that would have taken ten or more Tsotsi's to convey. It basically fast forwards South Africa's reputation as a capable and viable filming destination. It has put us on the map!.

"I think it's great that we received so many nominations, although it's a little ironic that most of the nominations are for categories that were non-South African like VFX, editing, cinematography and sound, in light of the fact that 95% of the crew were South Africans!. It's also a little disappointing that our actors like Sharlto Copley and Jason Cope were left out. They both did an outstanding job.

"In a business sense though, it's definitely brought a flood of inquiries and interest as well as international respect. Being a South African so closely involved in the film, it gives me a proudly South African feeling that inspires me to do here what Peter Jackson did to the New Zealand Film industry - watch this space!"

The BAFTAs ceremony will take place on 21 February. Let's all hold thumbs for a full house of awards for District 9!