Czech production outfit Negativ is venturing into feature length animation with a film version of cult graphic novel Alois Nebel, by Jaroslaw Rudis and Jaromir 99.

Tomas Lunak has signed on to direct. The project, which was presented at last month's Rotterdam CineMart, has now been picked up by The Match Factory for worldwide sales.

Combining live action and animation, the Eu2.5m film is the story of a worker at a small railway station on the Czech-Polish border who hallucinates and sees trains from years ago pass through the station. These trains evoke memories of the trauma of the Nazi occupation and the Jewish transports. Unable to get rid of his nightmares, the worker ends up in a sanatorium.

The graphic novel, a huge success in the Czech Republic, was drawn in a black and white style partly inspired by American comics of the 1950s. A large proportion of the budget for the film - due to begin shooting in the spring - is already in place.

Negativ also has two films in post-production, both due to be released later this year: Marek Najbrt's Protektor, about a collaborator in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, and Losers, by first-time director Jitka Ruudolfova.