In celebration of one of the world’s most popular primates — who turns 75 this year — filmmaker Ema Ryan Yamazaki announces the first ever mixed-media documentary about Curious George. Monkey Business: The Curious Adventures of George’s Creators delves into the extraordinary lives of Hans and Margret Rey, the authors behind the beloved 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-be-published Curious George manuscript with them. To tell their story, Yamazaki obtained exclusive rights from the Rey’s estate, curated by Margret’s longtime caregiver, Ley Lee Ong, getting access to 300 boxes of personal archives.
Monkey Business blends uniquely crafted animation inspired by the Reys’ style as well as archival photographs to tell the story of the couple’s lives, the birth of George and how the little monkey almost didn’t come to fruition. The documentary marks Yamazaki’s directorial debut, with Marc Levin onboard as executive producer.
To help fund post-production costs, Yamazaki is running a Kickstarter campaign; for Monkey Business, releasing original Curious George prints and digital archive downloads as rewards.