A diabolical project has been in development for the past three years at Track 16 Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica.

The new feature-length film, Dante’s Inferno, based on the artwork of Sandow Birk, reinterprets and reinvents the literary classic that describes Dante’s descent into hell where, guided by the Roman poet Virgil, Dante encounters a litany of souls eternally condemned to suffer horrific and highly outlandish punishments.

Creating an adequate silver screen version of Dante’s Inferno has long been an elusive challenge to filmmakers.

The challenge is not the story itself, but how to best tell it, says director Sean Meredith.

Meredith joined forces with artist Birk and puppeteer Paul Zaloom and decided to tell the story through toy theater.

The film, created and shot in one of the back rooms of the Track 16 Gallery, features two-dimensional cut-out children’s characters designed by Birk.

Fourteenth century figures are replaced by a cast of famous and infamous characters from the past century, complete with a backdrop of gated communities, used car lots and strip malls.The darkly comedic film is set to have its worldwide premiere at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival.

Information, (323) 397-4934 or www.dantefilm.com