A twisted sci-fi road comedy with heart, a la “Little Miss Sunshine” with aliens, an interspecies romance and a spoof on classic sci-fi films and the American Southwest’s UFO subculture. JIMMY, a Venice Beach boardwalk hustler, discovers beautiful alien JARA and her two intergalactic circus performers stranded on Earth. He cons them into his “family” of misfit street performers and takes them to Las Vegas. Along the way, sweet-tempered aliens touch jaded human hearts. Ultimately Jimmy must save Jara and her E.T.’s from a ruthless Las Vegas casino kingpin, with the help of Nevada UFO buffs.

A carnivalesque spaceship crash-lands in the Nevada desert, its escaping passengers unknown. Three sets of odd footprints point west toward California.

Venice Beach, the perfect alien’s hideout. JIMMY FLYNN, a chainsaw juggler turned entrepreneur, leads three wayward street performers in his “Freakorama Flying Circus, the Weirdest Show on Earth”. They include dwarf sword swallower WANDA; fire-breathing juggler CHEEKO, an Hispanic illegal migrant; and weightlifter-by-mouth AJAX, the “Lockjaw King”.

Jimmy aspires to revive the circus sideshow of old and hit the Las Vegas circuit, sharing his dream with CARLA, his tattoo-artist girlfriend who runs a body shop on the Venice boardwalk. But he’s on a nowhere track, desperate to find fresh, new blood.

JARA, a naive, green-skinned beauty in disguise, roams the boardwalk, seriously lost. She needs a friend and thinks she finds one in Jimmy. A big mistake. Jimmy puts the make on her, until Jara begs him to join his street show. Jimmy doesn’t need body art, he needs a killer act. What can she do?

Jara shows him -- her skin changes colors to her emotions like a kaleidoscopic light show, exposing an inside anatomy of two glowing hearts. Amazed by her, Jimmy recruits her into his show. But Jara insists that he takes in her friends as well.

Jimmy accompanies Jara to an eerie L.A. River drain canal to meet her circus friends in hiding: midget magician ZZZZYK and freakish ape-lizard PUMPY, both far less human and even weirder than Jara. Jara reveals they aren’t human at all, neither is she -- they’re aliens, lost in East L.A.

We learn the woes of three intergalactic circus performers who need desperately to return to their damaged ship in Nevada and leave Earth for home. Jimmy sees a big opportunity here, each alien gifted with otherworldly talents beyond our imagination. Forget what this close encounter means to humanity -- Jimmy’s got a career to think of.

He makes a crooked deal with them: if they work his show and go with him to Las Vegas, he’ll find a way to get them home. He teams them up with his street performers and his business partner Carla, then they all embark on an L.A.-to-Las Vegas road odyssey, performing gigs along the way to finance the trip.

As the Freakorama Flying Circus hits the road in a psychedelic-painted school bus, from a San Bernardino rock festival to a psychic fair and UFO convention, to Sin City, Jimmy discovers that life is what happens to you while you make other plans.

What begins as the strangest showbiz exploitation ever evolves into a comedy of the heart. What lying scoundrel Jimmy never expects is that he’ll fall in love with a two-hearted alien. Or that his carny misfits will be touched by otherworldly kindness, as they learn from extraterrestrials about being human. Or that Jimmy will make good on his empty promises and hopefully save a few good aliens.

By the third act, their arrival in Las Vegas plunges them into the shark waters of an all-powerful casino kingpin who rips off Jimmy and kidnaps his aliens to exploit them for his new futuristic hotel.

Trying futilely to rescue them, Jimmy elicits the help of Nevada UFO buffs to battle the casino mogul and his army of sheriff’s deputies. The surprise climax leaves the ending open to a sequel: the further adventures of Jimmy Flynn’s “Intergalactic Freakorama Flying Circus -- the Weirdest Show in the Galaxy”.

JIMMY & JARA FROM OUTTA SPACE is a cross-generational “E.T.” meets “Little Miss Sunshine”, with lovable aliens for kids and an offbeat romance for young adults. Its comic take on the sci-fi genre, in the way that “Shrek” spoofed fairy tales, pays homage to classic sci-fi flicks like “Them!”, “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, “E.T” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.

The story also takes on the eccentric subcultures of the American Southwest, from New Age desert festivals to UFO cults, posing the burning question...

Why do so many people love aliens and UFOs, and why do so many others exploit them for money?

2018 Austin Film Festival coverage:

CONCEPT: Initially, JIMMY & JARA FROM OUTTA SPACE seems like an average alien crash-landing on Earth adventure. However, a fresh take begins to unfold as a small crew of alien circus performers look for help to get their ship back up and running, eager to trust everyone they meet. They encounter a fellow human performer in California who's keen to make a buck and a name for himself, and they're soon blindsided by the complexity of human behavior.

PLOT: "Splash" meets "Paul" in this entertaining tale of a small crew of galaxy circus performers who learn the true nature of humanity when they crash-land on Earth. The writer creates an absorbing world of freaks and uniques trying to find out how they fit into a world of people who judge but are also grossly entertained by anyone that is unusual.

STRUCTURE: The writer quickly establishes an intriguing and curious world with well-paced, rising action as the story unfolds. Attachments are formed between the aliens and the Earth performers as mistrust and uncertainty bubble under the surface. The stakes are high as Jimmy strikes a deal with Biddle against his better judgment. Biddle abducts Zzzzyk and kicks Jimmy to the curb, leading to a climactic banding together of characters who are finally resolved to help the aliens, risking their own welfare in the process.

CHARACTERS: Many likable characters create interesting relational dynamics in the story. JARA is a captivating alien, unique in her ability to emote in a wide array of colors and vulnerable to her desire to trust in the good nature of everyone she encounters. JIMMY FLYNN seems little more than a callously unfeeling ringleader, but has a fulfilling character arc as he learns the hard way to put others before himself. BIDDLE the Las Vegas tycoon is too run-of-the-mill to hold the sole role of antagonist, but with other opposing forces like PROFESSOR LEPIER and traitor AJAX, there is a satisfying amount of compelling and varied resistance. For having such a large number of characters, the ensemble throughout is satisfyingly developed and entertaining.

DIALOGUE: "She's so fat that she weighs herself on the Richter scale!" is just one example of the clever and well-crafted dialogue in this story. Each character's way of speaking creates a vivid picture of their individual personalities, especially of Jimmy and Jara.

OVERALL: JIMMY & JARA FROM OUTTA SPACE is a sold, well-structured story. It has many likable characters, funny exchanges, and tender moments. There are several foreshadowing hints and many scenes with compelling conflicts that build tension. The themes of love, compassion and acceptance of those different from us are uniquely explored from an alien perspective.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Starring Roles For:
Rainn Wilson
Christina Ricci
Jack Black
In the Vein Of:
Little Miss Sunshine
Author Bio:
ANTON DIETHER is the writer of the Hallmark TV miniseries Moby Dick, the highest-rated long-form show in basic cable history, nominated for five Emmys and two Golden Globe Awards; ABC-TV miniseries Cleopatra; and Hallmark miniseries Stranded. Anton developed Beauty and the Beast for Fox, Land of Oz for Disney, Gold Fever for Phoenix Pictures, Operation Greylord for Showtime, Lost At Sea for TNT; currently Gang of Dreams TV miniseries for Little Studio Films, The Revolt for Revolt Prods, Taj Mahal for Threshold Ent.

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Contest Results:
Screenwriter Showcase (First Place, Pka ALIEN CIRCUS) [2008]
Austin Fest Film (Honorable Mention, Second Round in Comedy Feature) [2018]
Creative Screenwriting (Quarterfinalist) [2021]
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