The Reys were of German-Jewish descent and narrowly escaped the Nazis on makeshift bicycles they rode across Europe, carrying the yet-to-be-published Curious George manuscript with them. To tell this remarkable story, Yamazaki obtained exclusive rights from the Rey's estate and gained 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, Monkey Business tells the story of the Rey 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 onboard 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 home.
The Kickstarter campaign will help fund the post-production costs of Monkey Business. The director is releasing timeless original Curious George prints and digital archive downloads as rewards for backers. The campaign 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. Please visit the campaign page here to learn more about the Curious George Documentary, include personal testimony by Yamazaki about the making of the film, and to help bring this unique film to completion. Thank you in advance for your generous support!