Tuesday, July 26, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Documentary Following Curious George Creators Hans A. & Margret Rey

Documentary Following Curious George Creators Hans A. & Margret Rey
Announced ­ Ema Ryan Yamazaki Directorial Debut

New York City, NY ­ July 26, 2016 ­ In celebration of the world's most beloved monkey,

who turns seventy ­five years old this year, filmmaker Ema Ryan Yamazaki announces

the first ever mixed­ media documentary about Curious George. Monkey Business

delves into the extraordinary lives of Hans and Margret Rey, the authors of the beloved

Curious George children’s books. The Reys were of German­ Jewish descent and

narrowly escaped the Nazis on makeshift bicycles they rode across Europe, carrying

the yet ­to ­be­published Curious George manuscript with them.

To tell this remarkable story, Yamazaki obtained exclusive rights from the Rey's estate,

curated by longtime caretaker to Margret Rey, Ley Lee Ong, gaining access to the over

300 boxes of the Reys’ personal archives at the de Grummond Collection, housed at

the University of Southern Mississippi. Through a unique and Rey ­inspired technique of

animation, as well as archival photographs, the documentary tells the story of the

couple's lives, the birth of George and how the well ­loved children's book character

almost didn't come to fruition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Universal hold the

publishing and merchandising rights to the literary and cultural icon, but it is Yamazaki

who has been entrusted with documenting this inspiring story of perseverance,

adventure, family and what it means to be a world citizen.

Monkey Business: The Curious Adventures of George’s Creators is Yamazaki’s

directorial debut, after amassing an impressive editing credit list including collaborations

with seasoned storyteller, Sam Pollard (When The Levees Broke). Marc Levin

(Chicagoland) is on board as Executive Producer.

Yamazaki, who claims Japan, the UK and New York as three unique homes, was

inspired by the Rey's journey and philosophy of living. She felt a kinship with the

married authors of German ­Jewish descent who were also multinationals having made

homes in Brazil, Paris and ultimately New York City. With immigration and

refugee ­crises at the center of current and urgent international debate, Monkey

Business reminds us that we are all world ­citizens, searching for and deserving of a


To fund the post­ production costs of Monkey Business, Yamazaki is running an

ambitious Kickstarter campaign, releasing timeless original Curious George prints and

digital archive downloads as rewards. The Kickstarter is also intended to be an invitation

to the world­ community to find inspiration in Hans and Margret Rey’s story. How

curiosity & imagination gave them the power to overcome life’s greatest challenges. The

link to the Kickstarter, which includes personal testimony by Yamazaki about the making

of the film, can be found here: bit.ly/CuriousGeorgeDoc


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.

MARC LEVIN (Executive Producer)

In his 30+ years as an independent filmmaker, Marc has won the Grand Jury Prize at

the Sundance Film Festival, the Camera D’Or at Cannes, National Emmys and

du Pont ­Columbia Awards. His work includes SLAM, HEIR TO AN EXECUTION, and the


JACOB KAFKA (Animator)

The son of a rabbi and a seismologist, Jacob grew up in Massachusetts and has been

making movies since he was five years old. His animated short films BASED ON A

TRUE STORY and COLD FEET have played in festivals such as TIFF Kids, Woodstock

Film Festival, Animation Block Party, ASIFA­East Animation Festival, and been featured

on Cartoon Brew. He developed the animation software "Rough Animator" for mobile

devices, which has been used by thousands of animators around the world.

“Colored marker drawing of Curious George on flip chart”, H.A. and Margret Rey Collection, de

Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, University of Southern Mississippi libraries

Hans & Margret Rey, Photo Cred Penny Stearns Palmer.

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