Preview: Glasgow Film Festival, Various venues, Glasgow

Local hero joins global movie stars
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The Independent Culture

It is only right that a Glaswegian actor should be the star of the opening night film at the Glasgow Film Festival. Now in its third year, the festival will screen more than 90 films in 11 days, opening with Cashback, a romantic comedy.

It stars Sean Biggerstaff as an art student, Ben, who is dumped by his girlfriend. He develops insomnia and begins working night shifts in a local supermarket where he meets checkout girl Sharon, played by Emilia Fox. It's the 23-year-old actor's first leading role and the first feature from director Sean Ellis, whose short of Cashback was Oscar nominated in 2004.

"The film was expanded because people wanted to find out what happened to my character," says Biggerstaff. "Ben is very introverted and sensitive. At the beginning of the film he has just broken up with his girlfriend and he comes out of his shell."

Biggerstaff joined the Scottish Youth Theatre 12 years ago, where he got his big break playing Tom, a schoolboy, in Alan Rickman's The Winter Guest in 1997. This led to his first Harry Potter film roles, as Oliver Wood in both The Sorcerer's Stone in 2001 and The Chamber of Secrets in 2002. He also had a small part playing Henry, Duke of Gloucester, in the television series Charles II: the Power and the Passion, alongside Rufus Sewell.

"The script for Cashback was genuinely a little bit different," says Biggerstaff. "It walks a fine line. There are a lot of fantasy sequences that involve a lot of nudity that if handled wrongly could end up being perverse. But I realised it was a very sweet film. Now the actual film is a work of visual art in its own right."

Other festival screenings include Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd, Woody Allen's Scoop, Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima and Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn. The final film is the UK premiere of Zhang Yimou's latest martial arts movie, Curse of the Golden Flower, a blood-soaked epic of 10th-century court intrigue.

15-25 February (www.glasgow filmfestival.org.uk)

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