Generations of children recall growing up with Curious George ever since the first book about him was published in 1941. As a child, I, too, loved the adventures of this mischievous monkey. It’s no surprise that my daughter carries this same love today through Curious George books and television shows.
This year the world’s favorite curious monkey is celebrating his 75th birthday and celebrating over 75 million book copies sold in more than 20 languages. Beyond these accolades is the little known history behind husband and wife Hans and Margret Rey, the creators of Curious George. Filmmaker Ema Ryan Yamazaki seeks to document their lives, and Bicultural Mama is a proud partner.In her directorial debut, Yamazaki’s MONKEY BUSINESS: The Adventures of George’s Curious Creators explores the Reys’ fascinating lives. Of German-Jewish descent, the Reys narrowly escape the Nazis in Paris by traveling on handcrafted bicycles while carrying the yet-to-be-published Curious George manuscript with them.
Notwithstanding occasionally weighty topics, the documentary strives to tell the Reys’ story with a whimsical, cheerful approach similar to the tone used in Curious George books. Yamazaki delves into the film using exclusive rights granted to her by the Rey’s estate. She gained access to over 300 boxes of the Reys’ personal archives at the de Grummond Collection, housed at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Through archival material, animated sequences, audio and video recordings of Hans and Margret including interviews from those close to the Reys, the documentary covers the story of the couple’s lives, the creation of Curious George and how this iconic children’s book character almost didn’t exist.
Bicultural Mama is thrilled to partner with this unique documentary to help this film come to fruition. To reach production and distribution goals, Yamazaki and her team are launching a Kickstarter campaign on July 26, 2016 with the goal of reaching $175,000. Target film completion date is Spring 2017 (look for Bicultural Mama in the film credits). As part of the Kickstarter campaign rewards, Yamazaki will be releasing timeless original Curious George prints and digital archive downloads.
To learn more about MONKEY BUSINESS: The Adventures of George’s Curious Creators campaign, please visit Curious George Documentary Kickstarter Campaign.
ABOUT EMA RYAN YAMAZAKI (Director)
Raised in Japan and England and currently based in New York, Ema has always loved telling stories first as a dancer and now as a filmmaker. She has directed documentaries such as “Monk By Blood” and “Neither Here Nor There” that have been seen around the world. As an editor, Ema’s work has screened on HBO, PBS, CNN at Sundance Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, among others.