Philomena, Sadie Frost and Harry Potter star swooping in for St Albans Film Festival

St Albans Film Festival 2014

St Albans Film Festival 2014 - Credit: Archant

The curtain will rise on the second St Albans Film Festival at the cathedral tonight for an opening screening of Hitchcock’s masterpiece The Birds.

The owl who played Hedwig in the Harry Potter film series will be entertaining guests at tonight's o

The owl who played Hedwig in the Harry Potter film series will be entertaining guests at tonight's opening ceremony - Credit: Archant

And a contingency of stars will be flitting to St Albans to take part in the celebrations.

Its not just local residents who are snapping up tickets, with actress Sadie Frost, the real Philomena, and even a famous feathered bird – Hedwig from the Harry Potter films – set to attend some of the upcoming events.

Sadie and her 12-year-old son star in Dotty, which the actress also produced, and was edited by Rudy’s Bafta-winning father Jude Law.

The film, which is about a child who stumbles across an eccentric woman, is up for Best Short Film at the film festival.

A huge chunk of the films showing at the festival have enviable cast lists, with David Attenborough, Judi Dench, Tom Hiddleston, and Shia LaBeouf all appearing on big screens around the city.

But it is not just the established stars festival-goers should be looking forward to seeing. There are also the rising stars to watch out for, like filmmaker Jonathan Brough. He has created a documentary in the student film category about his life after developing meningitis.

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Leoni Kibbey, festival director, said: “One of the proudest things about putting on this film festival is giving the real heroes and VIPs the opportunity to share their story and to be inspired by them – like the title of student Jonathan Brough’s documentary, these people really do show ‘Perseverance Beyond Doubt’.

A highly anticipated event that has already sold out is the young student films screening in its new location of Verulamium Museum this Saturday.

The whole of the screening will be interpreted in sign language for audience members as one of the 16 shortlisted films is from Heathlands School for the Deaf in St Albans.

One lucky winner of the category will nab a beautiful trophy and £150 if their creation is crowned ‘Best Film’. Also up for grabs is a family ticket to Warner Bros Studio Tour Harry Potter world, who are sponsoring the category.

Hilary Greatorex, schools coordinator for the festival, said: “The standard of entries really blew us away this year - we’ve had films on a huge range of subjects from a documentary about travellers to an action battle between dinosaurs and My Little Ponies, and a complete re-enactment of the Battle of Bosworth Field!

“Film is a brilliant way for children to let their imaginations fly, and I can’t wait to show St Albans what young people are capable of creating!”