Oscar-winning Czech directorJiri Menzel is finally set to direct his long-gestating adaptation of IServed The King Of England, one of the greatest novels by Czech writerBohumil Hrabal.

The new project is beingpresented to potential production partners at the EFM by Czech sales anddistribution outfit AQS in advance of its official announcement in Prague laterthis month.

Menzel's 1966 adaptation ofHrabal's Closely Watched Trains won an Academy Award and is seen as oneof the key films of the Czech New Wave. Hrabal is considered, along withJaroslav Hasek and Karel Capek, one of the most important Czech writers of the20th century, and perhaps the most influential in the post-war period. Menzel,a close friend and collaborator, has made several other films from his novels.

Menzel has scripted theproject himself. He has long been keen to make the movie, but earlier attemptsto make I Served The King Of England were stymied by confusion over therights to the novel after Hrabal's death in 1997.

AQS has now sorted out allthe remaining rights issues. Senior VP Ondrej Zach will produce the film, whichis due to shoot at the end of the year.

I Served The King OfEngland is a comic allegory about adiminutive waiter who becomes a millionaire and owner of a hotel, but loseseverything when the Communists seize power. He is a simpleton whose only goalin life is to be accepted, but who invariably ends up rebuffed and humiliated.

Formed in 1998 with TV Novabacking, AQS buys and distributes films for the Czech Republic, Slovakia andEastern Europe. Last year, the company launched its own sales arm.

In Berlin this year, AQSheld an unofficial international premiere for Filip Renc's From Subway WithLove, a romantic comedy based on Michael Viewegh's popular novel billed byZach as "a Czech Bridget Jones." Other titles on AQS's firstBerlinale slate include Petr Zelenka's Wrong Side Up, Milan Cieslar's DirtySoul and Jakub Sluka's Non Plus Ultras.