11:30am PT by Graeme McMillan
'Alien' Celebrating 40th Anniversary With 6 Short Films
As the Alien franchise approaches its 40th anniversary, the legacy of Ellen Ripley continues to evolve and expand, with 20th Century Fox inviting a new generation of filmmakers to play with xenomorphs and other Weyland-Yutani Corporation intellectual property for a series of six online short films.
The six shorts were creators in partnership with Tongal, the online platform connecting brands, studios and networks with online filmmakers to crowdsource new content. More than 550 submissions were received from creators looking for the chance to add to the mythology launched by Ridley Scott’s original 1979 movie about the doomed Nostromo mission, leading to six final projects offered the keys to the franchise.
"This partnership with Fox is really reflective of Tongal’s mission to bring creative opportunities to the next generation of talent," Tongal co-founder and CEO James DeJulio said Wednesday in a statement. "Being able to give filmmakers everywhere the chance to make their mark on an iconic franchise and extend the Alien narrative was really special for us and everyone involved. And the superfans delivered in a big way. We can’t wait for the fans to see what they’ve created — because at the end of the day, it was made for them."
The shorts will be released weekly online by the entertainment site IGN beginning March 29, before being added to AlienUniverse.com and the @AlienAnthology social media channels alongside exclusive behind-the-scenes content starting May 5. However, the official debut of the project comes at this week’s Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle, where a selection of material from the project will be screened on Friday, with an additional screening set for March 23 at C2E2 in Chicago and March 30 at WonderCon in Anaheim.
Official descriptions of the six shorts, provided by Fox, follow.
Alien: Alone — Hope, an abandoned crewmember aboard the derelict chemical hauler Otranto, has spent a year trying to keep her ship and herself alive as both slowly fall apart. After discovering hidden cargo, she risks it all to power up the broken ship in search of human life. Written and directed by Noah Miller.
Alien: Containment — Four survivors find themselves stranded aboard a small escape pod in deep space. Trying to piece together the details around the outbreak that led to their ship’s destruction, they find themselves unsure to trust whether or not one of them might be infected. Written and directed by Chris Reading.
Alien: Harvest — The surviving crew of a damaged deep-space harvester have minutes to reach the emergency evacuation shuttle. A motion sensor is their only navigation tool leading them to safety while a creature in the shadows terrorizes the crew. However, the greatest threat might have been hiding in plain sight all along. Directed by Benjamin Howdeshell.
Alien: Night Shift — When a missing space trucker is discovered hungover and disoriented, his co-worker suggests a nightcap as a remedy. Near closing time, they are reluctantly allowed inside the colony supply depot where the trucker’s condition worsens, leaving a young supply worker alone to take matters into her own hands. Written and directed by Aidan Breznick.
Alien: Ore — As a hard-working miner of a planet mining colony, Lorraine longs to make a better life for her daughter and grandchildren. When her shift uncovers the death of a fellow miner under mysterious circumstances, Lorraine is forced to choose between escape or defying management orders and facing her fears to fight for the safety of her family. Written and directed by the Spear Sisters.
Alien: Specimen — It’s the night shift in a colony greenhouse, and Julie, a botanist, does her best to contain suspicious soil samples that have triggered her sensitive lab dog. Despite her best efforts, the lab unexpectedly goes into full shutdown and she is trapped inside. Little does she know, an Alien specimen has escaped the mysterious cargo, and a game of cat and mouse ensues as the creature searches for a host. Written and directed by Kelsey Taylor.