Merton has beaten off tough competition from 22 other London councils to secure London Borough of Culture funding.

The successful bid focuses on bringing film to the whole of Merton, creating spaces for pop-up cinemas across the borough. There will be seasons of short films curated by the community and guest curators.  These will be played at the new pop-up cinema locations across Merton.

There will also be three short films delivered by early career film-makers together with the community. The aim is to work with British Film Institute Academy graduates.

Councillor Nick Draper, Cabinet Member for Community and Culture, said: “We are incredibly proud that Merton has earned funding from the prestigious London Borough of Culture Award Fund.

“Merton has a wealth of creative talent from all over the world: this is the perfect opportunity for everyone to come together from across the borough to celebrate our unique heritage and rich cultural life. This includes the strong business partnerships that have been forged throughout the bidding process which have been invaluable and will have a lasting legacy moving forward.

“We are grateful to the Mayor of London for selecting Merton for our exciting and progressive proposal which will have a lasting impact for families throughout the Borough.”

John Merriman, the Chair of Merton’s London Borough of Culture bid, said: “We are incredibly proud of the collaborative way in which the bid was pulled together.  It was very much ‘the people’s bid’ and brought together the strength of Merton’s creative industries, its sporting heritage and its huge multifaceted artistic talent from the length and breadth of the borough that made this bid a remarkable and a worthy winner for funding.”

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Part of Merton’s impressive bid is an augmented reality matrix which will be embedded across Merton as well as an exciting virtual reality festival.

The judges were impressed with the calibre of Merton’s bid which includes 25 community commissions, three show-stopping ‘spectaculars’, business development initiatives and a film festival.  These are all captured under six over-arching strands focused on building a united Merton which promotes togetherness and inclusivity.