Almost exactly one year from today, the sci-fi horror classic Alien will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary, and 20th Century Fox is teaming with the filmmaking community at Tongal to celebrate in a unique way. Starting today, filmmakers can start submitting their pitches to create an original five to nine minute short film that is set within the Alien franchise universe. Here's the description of the project from Tongal.

"That's right, Tongalers, we're giving you the chance to create your own original story set in the biggest horror franchise of all time: Alien! Go ahead. Run outside and scream with excitement if you want to (just don't do it in space). But then hurry back here and pay close attention to this Brief because we've got a lot to cover. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original Alien, 20th Century Fox is tapping six visionary filmmakers in the Tongal Community to produce their own original short videos set in the aftermath of the original film. Fox wants a wholly original story with completely new characters but your Pitch should draw on all the things that made the original Alien so groundbreaking. Think about all the unique qualities of the movie before crafting your story: Slow, atmospheric buildups that isolated the viewer in the emptiness of space, anxiously waiting for something to jump from the darkness. In the school of Hitchcockian suspense, what isn't seen is even scarier than what is! The first true badass female protagonist in science fiction and horror. In defiance of orders, this powerful woman summoned immense strength and grit to face down the most primal of fears. "Space truckers" - everyday working men and women waiting to talk about their bonus situations and tying the film to its realism and relatability. We are looking first and foremost for great original short narrative stories told through your own unique creative lens. The winning Shorts will be released online to an intensely loyal and devoted Alien fan base."
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The "pitch period" goes from today, July 27, through July 3, and after all of the pitches are evaluated, 18 filmmakers will be selected and awarded $2,000 each to create a "full-blown pitch" that includes a synopsis, treatment, full script, pitch video and links to your previous video work. From there, six filmmakers will be selected and given $30,000 each to make their short film, and if the short films all meet with the criteria set forth by 20th Century Fox, each filmmaker will be given an additional $5,000 upon completion.

As for the short films themselves, they must contain wholly original, new characters, and must not feature the names or likenesses of any actor who appeared in any of the Alien films. However, these new characters can reference existing Alien characters but through dialogue. Each short must feature an Alien in, "some form of its lifecycle," such as ovomorph, face hugger, chestburster or Xenomorph.

You can take a look at the full requirements and contest breakdown at, which includes a list of "Alien story starters" provided by 20th Century Fox to, "get those creative juices flowing. Some of these "Alien story starters" include, "Synthetic and Biologist partner together to survive an infestation, "Scientists bring Xenomorph back to lab for dissection without knowing horrors ahead" and "Space crew discovers the body of a Facehugged victim outside their ship." Take a look at the teaser video created for this contest below, and visit the Tongal site above to get started.