Bugs!, a $9m 3-D giant-screen documentary film, has started principal photography in the jungles of Malaysia.

A live-action film about the hidden world of insects, Bugs! will use macro-photography and 3D imagery to convey the tiny dramas of bug life on a grand scale - and will be hoping to repeat the international success of Jacques Perrin's Microcosmos which took more than $25m worldwide

The 40-minute Bugs! is produced Phil Streather of London-based Principal Large Format and directed by Mike Slee.

The documentary is set for release in spring 2003 in 3D, shortly followed by a release in 2D around the world on IMAX and other large format screens.

Bugs! will be distributed worldwide by SK Films Inc and is being produced by Principal Large Format in association with Image Quest 3-D.

The film is co-Produced by the UK Film and Television Production Company Plc and financed with The Film Consortium, in association with Film Council.

Some 100 giant screen 3D theatres have opened in major cities around the world since the mid 1990s, but very few giant screen 3D films have been produced - fewer than 20 titles in all.

Executive producers are Jonathan Barker, president of Shaftesbury Films Inc and of its large format subsidiary SK Films; Peter Fudakowski, CEO of UKFTV; and Simon Relph, currently chairman of BAFTA.