A SCREENWRITER has started a £16m copyright infringement case against the makers of a new film.

Elizabeth Obisanya, 39, wrote the screenplay for a short film called Cashback Paper or Plastic, set in a supermarket, in 2002.

Since then, writer/director Sean Ellis has released an award- winning short film called Cashback, made in 2004.

A feature-length version starring Emilia Fox is due to be released in the UK on May 9.

Ellis's short film was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Short Film, Live Action category, at the 2006 Academy Awards and has also won several other short film prizes.

Now Ms Obisanya, who lives with her 10-year-old son Steven in Tawney Road, Thamesmead, is suing Mr Ellis and company Cashback Films at the High Court, for £16m.

Ms Obisanya said: "£16m is really an estimate of what the work encompasses, the fact the short was nominated for an Academy Award and a feature film has been made.

"When I do my own film, people will think it's just like Sean Ellis's."

The divorced mother-of-two claims the fact her film shares the same title as Mr Ellis's, and both films are romantic comedies set in a supermarket, give her a good case in law.

She said: "I was surfing the internet in 2005 when I put in a search for Cashback and found there was a short film purported to have been written by Mr Ellis.

"I said to Steven Mummy doesn't remember making her film yet'."

"I immediately made inquiries about the film-maker and started court proceedings."

Ms Obisanya, who owns a production company and graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a Masters degree in feature film, is representing herself in the case due to lack of finances.

She is attempting to make her own short film before a court hearing due to take place on May 19.

The divorcee says she registered her script with a film company in 2003 before submitting it to several studios and organisations in the hope of securing funding to make it.

Ms Obisanya said: "What I'd like this case to show is if anyone else has had problems like this I'd encourage them to pursue it.

"If something is yours, then go out there and get it."

A spokesman for Russells solicitors, representing the film-makers, said: "Sean Ellis, Cashback Films Ltd and all associated with the making of Cashback rigorously deny the claims put forward by Ms Obisanya, which are entirely without merit.

"There is an imminent court hearing to dispose of the claim without trial, which we are confident will be successful.

"Given the hearing it would be inappropriate for us or our clients to comment any further."