Neill Blomkamp, a graduate of the Vancouver Film School and the moviemaker behind last summer’s surprise hit District 9, has been honored by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world. While a low-budget sci-fi parable doesn’t exactly sound like the recipe for a surefire hit, District 9 become one of the most buzzed-about movies of 2009, achieving both rave reviews and stellar box office numbers. The movie garnered four nominations at this year’s Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay (which Blomkamp shared with Terri Tatchell).

Legendary moviemaker Ridley Scott wrote about Blomkamp’s placement on the list: “From time to time, there are people in the film industry who appear on the horizon with a unique vision. South African director Neill Blomkamp is one of those rare people… Neill’s extraordinary talent is a force to be reckoned with, and I know that we all look forward to seeing what lies ahead for this game-changing filmmaker.”

Time‘s annual list (called the “Time 100″) compiles the 100 leaders, heroes, artists and thinkers who most affect our world. Other moviemakers featured in the list include Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker), James Cameron (Avatar), Banksy (Exit Through the Gift Shop) and Ricky Gervais (Cemetery Junction).

To read Scott’s write-up on Blomkamp, click here.

To view the full “Time 100,” click here.