St Albans Film Festival mascot revealed as Ray the gorilla

Ray the gorilla, St Albans Film Festival mascot

Ray the gorilla, St Albans Film Festival mascot - Credit: Archant

A cartoon gorilla has been announced as the mascot for this year’s St Albans Film Festival.

Ray, a big purple gorilla with his brain on the outside, pink shorts, and a Rubik’s cube, was created by Isobel Evans - a third year illustration student at the University of Hertfordshire.

The theme of the 2017 event is the mind, and has a schedule which includes workshops, speakers, film screenings, and a short film competition.

Isobel said she was very thankful: “I chose a gorilla mostly as a nod to classic movies like King Kong and Planet of the Apes, but gorillas also have associations with the mind as, since they are so similar to us, their intelligence is often compared with ours.”

She gave him a Rubik’s cube to both make people smile and empathise with the confused monkey.

It is the fourth year the St Albans festival has celebrated the city’s filmmaking history - it is the birthplace of moving pictures pioneer Arthur Melbourne-Cooper, second home to Stanley Kubrick, and houses one of the first cinemas in the country, which opened nearly 100 years ago.

In past years, there have been more than 1,500 short film entries submitted from 40 countries.

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Festival director Leoni Kibbey said they have an innovative and ambitious programme: “I want to explore both the power and beauty of the mind, the darker side of minds portrayed on film and also the issue of mental health.

“This is a really important topic, that can also help us look at issues of psychology, and of mental health - which affects us all at some time or other - and hopefully will encourage people to talk and share their own stories.”

She added that it is a community event which celebrates talent and creativity, and she was blown away by the mascot competition entries: “Ray is unique, cool, and represents the vibrant creativity the festival brings to the city from local talent as well as filmmakers around the world.”

Locals are being encouraged to volunteer and host their own film-related events, and Leoni is also looking for sponsors.

Entries for the festival, which is from July 8 to 9, are being accepted until April 30, click here.