I went to Venice High School in Los Angeles. Our school mascot was Gunther Gondolier. I know, Gunter isn't very Italian, but I assume it was the alliteration that counted. There was a cartoon of Gunther Gondolier, but there was never anyone in a gondolier costume at the football games. Until my class came along. We took the cartoon to a costume design place and they made a giant plastic head and some costume that looked like what somebody thought a gondolier would wear.
I was the student chosen to introduce Gunther Gondolier to the student body. I was a pretty reserved kid. I didn't do outrageous things. But when I put on the Gunther mask and costume, something happened. I became a different person. And as Gunther, I came up behind one of the cheerleaders from behind the curtain and put my arms around her from behind and pulled her back behind the curtains with me. Not something I would have done as Steve. And action that got me called into the Vice Principal's office for a warning.
I thought of this talking to Ingrid Veninger last night about her film The Animal Project. It's about an acting teacher who has his students dress up in animal costumes. Then she said, If you've ever been in a mask you're sort of free and liberated behind the mask. Oh, my, that was true of me in the Gunther Gondolier costume.
She went on to talk about the animal costumes in the acting class in the film. Not only are the actors in the animal costumes liberated, but so are the people encountering them.
I haven't seen this film, but it sounds like it will be interesting and different. And this film played at the Toronto Film Festival and others, and just Tuesday night (yes, two days ago) won the best narrative feature at the Whistler Film Festival.
But listen to it directly from Ingrid:
Here's the trailer for the film: