Coproduction office and Swedish Film Institute support feature adaptation of Berlinale-winning short, produced by Filmlance International.

French sales and production outfit Coproduction Office and the Swedish Film Institute are assisting Swedish director Hugo Lilja with the feature development of his acclaimed short The Unliving, which won the Best European Short Film award at the 2011 Berlinale.

The 30-minute, €90,000 short, Lilja’s Stockholm Film School graduation film, has attracted interest from production and financing outfits in the UK, US and France.

Lilja is currently producing the film with Swedish producer Bonnie Skoog Feeney of Filmlance International (who also worked on the short) and working on the script with Coproduction Office. Cast members have yet to be confirmed.

“The film is not your average zombie film,” explained Lilja. “It explores how we choose to see others as inferior in order to take advantage of them. It has one foot in the art house but also has commercial potential. We want to focus on the story and its characters - who are not heroes. Rather they show us sides that most of us want to forget we also have. In this film people are pure egoists.”

The impressive short depicts a doomed love affair in a dystopian future in which zombies are a cheap source of labour.

The film is also a nominee for the European Film Academy Short Film 2011.

Lilja is also attached to co-direct (with Pella Kagerman) Young Boys, a drama based on Swedish football hooligans produced by Lena Rehnberg’s Stockholm-based StellaNova Film.