Manchester Film Festival takes over the Odeon, Great Northern this week with more than 150 films being shown, ranging from documentary features, shorts, experimental, music videos, animations and virtual reality.

One film in particular is causing bit of a stir.

The Evolution of Testicles – also known as Dino Balls – is a 360 degree virtual reality short film with a little added stardust from Hollywood A lister Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd, Bridesmaids, Thor:The Dark World).

It’s helping to change the way men think about their health.

It has already won best VR film at The London Short Film Festival and Best Social Impact at Raindance Festival. And it’s a strong a contender to win Best VR Film this weekend.

Written by founder of the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign Patrick Cox with Ryan Hartsell and directed by Hartsell, this award-winning and groundbreaking romp through history is two parts humour and one part emotion. It’s a salty-sweet VR piece that aims to raise awareness about testicular cancer.

The film features interviews with cancer survivors, explains the importance of getting checked and sums it all up by taking you on a flight like no other in a 100-foot tall air vessel in the shape of (you got it) a scrotum aptly named Skyballs.

“We needed to push the boundary in awareness of male cancer,” said Patrick. “We needed something with really big impact. Something that would start a conversation.

“Just imagine if you saw a hot air balloon that was a giant pair of testicles flying through the air. That would start off a conversation straight away. And that’s where the idea of Skyballs came from.

With early diagnosis, testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of the disease. This eye-opening film is a groundbreaking way to get informed and spread the word.

“Men are often too embarrassed to seek medical advice on potential early warning signs. Yet early detection and early treatment is vital to surviving male cancer. Our bold and innovative campaigns grab men’s attention and drive home the message of early diagnosis. Our campaigns save lives.

“MCAC is the boldest, most daring and most innovative charity in the world,” says Patrick. “Our job is simple: to help raise awareness and reduce embarrassment of male cancer. We believe awareness and education are the two most important punches that can be thrown in the fight on male cancer.

“Early detection and early treatment is vital. We are asking people to please watch and then share with friends and family.

The Evolution of Testicles has certainly pushed the boundaries of awareness raising and virtual reality filmmaking. This film has the power to save young men’s lives.”

You can watch The Evolution of Testicles in fully immersed VR all week along with all the other nominees. Tickets are available here. Or you can watch it online here.

Oh, and I forgot to mention. If you watch closely you will also see a small cameo by yours truly.

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