Focus Features has unveiledfirst animated picture - 9, whichis being directed by Shane Acker and produced by Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov,Jim Lemley and Dana Ginsburg.

Focus will finance thefeature and holds worldwide rights to the story, which is set in a postapocalyptic parallel universe where humanity faces extinction.

The project is an expandedversion of Acker's short film of the same name, which won a Gold Medal at the2005 Student Academy Awards and has just won Best Animated Film and a SpecialJudges' Choice Award at Comic-Con in San Diego.

Pamela Pettler, who wrotethe screenplay for this autumn's upcoming Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, is writing the screenplay. Focus president ofproduction John Lyons will oversee the project for the company.

'We were mesmerisedwhen we saw Shane's short film last fall," Lemley and Ginsburg said in a jointstatement. "9 has a timelessconcept and rich characters, which all the best fantasy stories share and whichPamela is going to build on.'

'The short was amongthe most extraordinary ten minutes of film we've ever seen," Burton andBekmambetov added. "Shane has conceived a stunningly detailed and hauntinglybeautiful universe that will resonate not only visually but emotionally."

'Shane is a giftedartist and storyteller, one whose work will appeal to audiencesinternationally," Focus co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus said.

"As Focus' first animatedfeature project, 9 is also partof our established initiative of cultivating new filmmakers and encouragingtheir creativity in groundbreaking genres and styles.'