Mitcham VR Festival at the General Giles Social Club, Mitcham

A festival showcasing the latest immersive technologies and film talent on offer in Merton takes place on March 7 at the General Giles Social Club in Mitcham.

Mitcham VR Festival will be the culmination of FilmMerton, a year-long project aiming to encourage participation with film throughout the borough of Merton.

Curated by VR industry expert Mária Rakušanová, this special one-off community event will bring cutting-edge VR entertainment to the heart of Merton.

Interactive virtual reality films will be showcased alongside 360-degree films, to give visitors the opportunity to engage with a broad range of immersive experiences from sci-fi thrillers to romantic dramas; documentary investigations to comedy flicks.

One of the films on offer, Gloomy Eyes, starring Colin Farrell, is the impossible love story of a zombie boy and a human girl with a comment on populism as an outlandish preacher oppresses the zombie community.

Memoria: Stories of La Garma, narrated by Geraldine Chaplin, allows viewers to explore the memories of a 16,500-year-old cave, once occupied by humans, which has been untouched and preserved for thousands of years.

And VR comedy series Bro Bots, set in the not-so-distant future, introduces two British robots – Otis and Roberto – as they arrive in New York to join the NYPD.

Mária Rakušanová said: “We’re thrilled to bring a curated selection of pioneering immersive experiences to Mitcham.

“Visitors will get a chance to try out some of the latest award- winning VR experiences and films, each pushing the boundaries of this fledgling medium.”

Also at the festival, All the Fun of the Fair will enable visitors to step into their local history through the technology of an augmented reality installation.

With a unique soundscape and images springing to life on smartphones and tablets, All the fun of the fair will transport audiences back in time to the Mitcham Fair.

Alongside this, a series of four short films specially commissioned by FilmMerton and selected by a board chaired by Justin Johnson, lead programmer for British Film Institute Southbank, will premiere at the festival.

These have all been produced in Merton and showcase work from both established and aspiring filmmakers.

Local Mitcham resident, Rosie Gaunt-Mathieson will present Just Delivered, a heart- warming romantic comedy.

Peter Lee Scott will share His Name is Gerry, a drama-comedy about young people and bereavement.

Aspiring filmmaker Matvi Khosho, a former asylum seeker brought up in Mitcham, will highlight the multicultural foundations of Merton with The Streets That Shape Us.

The final short will be Wimbledon resident Charlie Strank’s The History of Wimbledon Football Club – As Told in Lego which documents ‘football coming home’ to the local community.

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