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SHARLTO COPLEY (H.M. ‘Howlin' Mad' Murdock) began directing and acting in his own short films at the age of 12. His love for improvisation and characterization lead to him writing, directing and appearing in numerous stage plays throughout his school years. During this time he studied Speech and Drama at Trinity College of London.

Copley co-founded his first company at the age of 19. Over the last 14 years, he has been responsible for co-founding and managing Channel 69 Studios (television broadcasting & production) Atomic Visual Effects (post production & visual effects) Slaves Talent Management (talent agency) and Inspired Minority Pictures (film production).

In 1998 Channel 69 became one of the founding companies of ETV, South Africa's first private terrestrial broadcast network. At age 24, Copley became the youngest executive in the history of South African television to own and control a daily five-hour block of programming. During this time he oversaw over 1300 hours of content and worked closely with Warner Brothers Television, a partner in the channel.

After leaving ETV, Copley was a producer and director on numerous commercials, music videos and short films. In addition, he continued to oversee the visual effects work produced by Atomic. His work has won him numerous awards and recognition in South Africa including the Avanti Awards, The Stone Awards and the Loeries.

Copley's short film 2001: A Space Oddity, which he co-produced and directed, is South Africa's most popular short of all time. It reached over 18 million people on the Internet and continues to be broadcast on a range of platforms.

His next short, Hellweek, was a spoof at animation training in Africa that was designed to promote Atomic VFX. It features Copley as an American visual effects veteran/ drill sergeant. Both shorts were screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005.

In 2005 Copley produced the short film Alive in Jo Burg for his longtime friend, director Neill Blomkamp. Copley also played a small role in the film. In 2006 Copley co-wrote, produced, directed and edited his first feature film Spoon, a supernatural thriller that used innovative production management systems, camera technology and visual effects to deliver high-end production values on an independent film budget. It will be distributed by Distant Horizon. Shortly thereafter, Copley won a UK Film Council script writing competition for Judgement Day, a project he co-wrote.

In 2007, Neill Blomkamp began work on a film version of Alive in Jo Burg and asked Copley to perform "an Afrikaans bureaucrat” character for a short test he wanted to film. The purpose of the shoot was creative exploration, but the positive response from Neill and producer Peter Jackson led Copley to accept the lead role in District 9. Copley improvised his dialogue in the film. District 9 premiered at Comic-Con in 2009 and received a standing ovation, followed by massive Internet and media buzz. Copley's performance as Wikus Van Der Merwe received widespread critical acclaim and District 9 became the surprise hit of the summer - grossing over $200million worldwide – and garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. The unlikely "Wikus” won the "Favorite Hero” award at IGN's Summer Movie Awards. IGN is one of the most popular film websites, with several million subscribers.


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