On June 12, British indie title The Ascent (known as “Black Ops” in the US) will be available exclusively on BirdBox.Film on June 12th from 7pm BST. Alongside the exclusive launch it will be the first film in history to have its premiere in virtual reality. This will be part of AltspaceVR’s “The VR Film Festival”, with film fans being able to tune in at 7pm BST via the AltspaceVR app.

This groundbreaking premiere will include a Q&A with director Tom Paton, cinematographer George Burt and IndieWire’s executive editor Eric Kohn. To access the premiere on 12th, film lovers simply need to log into the AltspaceVR app and have access to an Oculus headset or similar. 

The Ascent follows a group of mercenaries, who are sent to Eastern Europe in the middle of a civil war to retrieve intel. Shortly after the mission, the unit find themselves trapped on a never-ending stairwell; forced to climb or die. To survive, they must revisit their past sins if they ever want to get off. It blurs the lines of action and horror, creating a visually unique cinematic experience. Practical effects, bone crunching fight sequences and existential dread are combined with time travel and big questions about the repercussions of violence and consequence. This was Tom Paton’s third film to premiere at the prestigious FrightFest film festival in London in August 2019.

BirdBox.Film, the UK streaming platform of choice for the premiere, is a branch of Goldfinch and recently started life with three channels of curated content for TVOD. It works to support young filmmakers and talent and this exclusive digital screening of The Ascent will mark the beginning of their expansion into horror and Sci Fi. 

The film, directed by Tom Paton, features an all British cast and marks the feature film debut of National Television Award Winning actor and former X-Factor winner Shayne Ward, alongside Toby Osmond (Game of Thrones), Sophie Austin (Call The Midwife), Alana Wallace (Black Site), Samantha Schnitzler & Bentley Kalu (Wonder Woman).

Never one to rest on his laurels, Paton has announced that his fifth film and third with Goldfinch, “G-LOC”, is in post-production. Little is known about the film but it is set to star Stephen Moyer (The Gifted, True Blood), Tala Gouveia (Cold Feet), Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers), John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Aquaman). Ward, Osmond and Wallace will also return for the film.

Coventry based production company Mosley Studios and London production financiers Goldfinch have joined forces to bring this British Indie film to audiences in a groundbreaking yet safe way during the pandemic. With distributors and filmmakers seeking ways to keep their release schedules on track, and festivals such as We Are One are seeking to unite film lovers during this difficult time, VR may offer a new alternative. Despite the technology itself not being new, designing cinemas in virtual reality could allow those who aren’t able to walk the red carpet in person to share the experience as part of an online community. This will invite some of the 171 million active users of VR (February 2020 stats) to meet like-minded fans, chat freely and enjoy the social experience together.

Here’s a trailer:

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle