Working Title has acquired Nick Ostler and MarkHuckerby's draft sci-fi script Population, one of the winners of the UKFilm Council's 25 Words Or Less development competition.

The $30m-plus conspiracy thriller titled Populationenvisages, according to Ostler, "a Britain where the problem of over populationhasn't been solved. It's quite dark."

The pair's pitch for the film to the UK Film Councilwas: "2128:Everyone wants a ticket off a chronically overcrowded Earth to the newLunar Cities. But one man uncovers the devastating secret behind the exodus."The pitch won Ostler and Huckerby £10,000 in funding to develop a draft of thescript.

Until now Ostler and Huckerby have worked aswriters in TV comedy and animation, with credits including The Amazing AdrenaliniBrothers which they co-created for CBBC, the BBC's children's strand.

The25 Words Or Less scheme asks applicants to provide a pitch line of 25 words orless outlining the concept, a one-page outline of the whole story and ten pagesof sample scenes from a chosen genre.

The initiative is run by the UK Film Council'sDevelopment Fund with the aim of encouraging writers to focus on the concept atthe heart of the story and create commercial screenplays with internationalappeal.

Last week, threenew winners were announced in three different genres:

Comedy ofDisguise: Act Your Age by Jonathan Evans - To finance hisdaughter's wedding, unemployable middle-aged baldy fakes it as hip 20-somethingadvertising trendspotter but ends up best man and father of the bride.

GhostStory: Kindness by Matthew McGuchan - A traumatisedteacher helps a sinister child lurking in the shadows of her class butdiscovers she has jeopardized the souls of her young charges.

Animation: FairyFever by Richard Vincent - When an ancient tribe of fairies are stolen byhumans, it's up to a band of disgruntled teen fairies to restore them to theirkingdom.

For a profile of Nick Ostler and Mark Huckerby, see this week's Screen International.