About this project
*** 日本語はこちらから → http://curiousgeorgedocumentary.com/japanese/ ****
WE ARE IN AWE!
We crossed the $175,000 finish line and we are DOING THE HAPPY DANCE! THANKS to each and every one of our 1,425 plus backers, we did it! Doing a Kickstarter has been such an emotional experience for us. To see so many people we know in our lives AND people we've never even met come forward to support this documentary is HUGE. We can't thank you enough for the support and the vote of confidence you've given us in telling the Reys' story. Because of all of your support, we've hit our goal, and the FILM CAN NOW BE FINISHED. We are excited to get it done and share it with you and the rest of the world!
We still have until TODAY (Wednesday) at 6pm ET to fundraise. Each additional dollar that is raised in the last 9 hours is a contribution to making the film the best it can be. Each element of the film — from the score, to the graphics, to finding the perfect archival shot to license, all the way to doing a full sound mix and color-correction pass — will all benefit from additional funds and help out team to fully execute our vision.
This is why we have a stretch goal in place of $200,000. Let's keep sharing about the campaign, right until the very end, so that new people get a chance to join our project. Now that we have reached our goal and the film will be made, maybe even more of our friends, colleagues, neighbors and family will want to join the team! We promise you - we will make full use of each additional dollar brought in by these new backers. With the time left, please help us make the best film it can be! Thank you for all your support.
THIS JUST IN FROM AWARD WINNING ACTOR SAM WATERSTON:
Because of YOU - my dream will become a reality and incredible Oscar-Nominated actor, Sam Waterston WILL be narrating our documentary!
AND IN CASE YOU MISSED THE MAGICAL MOMENT, WATCH OUR TEAM AS WE FACEBOOK LIVE THE EMOTIONAL MOMENTS WE MAKE OUR GOAL!
We all know Curious George. But what about his creators, Hans and Margret Rey? From fleeing Nazi-occupied France on handmade bicycles to encounters with exotic animals in Brazil, this mixed-media documentary explores the untold story of Curious George – the life-long journey of Hans and Margret Rey, whose creation continues to touch the hearts and minds of children around the world today.
In June of 1940, Hans and Margret, who were German Jews living in Paris, narrowly escaped Hitler’s troops by fleeing on make-shift bicycles. Among the limited possessions they carried was an unpublished manuscript of the first Curious George book. A few months later they sailed into the New York harbor and started life anew. Over the next three decades they created a children’s book classic.
A special message from acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Alex Gibney (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Taxi to the Dark Side, ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room):
Support for this documentary and the dedication to share the incredible journey of Hans and Margret Rey has been simply overwhelming. Here are just a few of the many outlets that are helping to tell our story so that we may better tell the Reys' story. Click the links to read more.
Both originally from Hamburg, Germany, Hans and Margret first met when Hans was dating Margret’s older sister. Years later, having heard that Hans was wasting his artistic talents as a bookkeeper in Rio de Janeiro, Margret traveled to Brazil and persuaded him to leave his steady job, marry her and start something together. They took a four-week honeymoon to Paris, where they ended up staying for four years. While there, Hans and Margret accidentally became authors when a French publisher suggested they create a children's book out of a cartoon Hans had drawn.
Hans and Margret worked on all their books together. They frequently drew themselves into their work, and used memories from their childhood as inspiration for the stories. “We only did what we liked, and it so happened that children liked the same thing,” Margret said. The Reys were very much like George. Time and time again, they used their own ingenuity to problem-solve. Later, they turned their adventurous experiences into fun stories with happy endings.
The astonishing details of the Reys' escape and other records of their life have been carefully preserved by the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. After combing through over 300 boxes of materials, we have been able to carefully piece together the Reys’ life through Hans’ wartime journals, photographs taken by Margret, letters written to each other and much more. Through unpublished George sketches, brainstorming notes, internal revisions that Hans and Margret worked on together, and letters to and from publishers, we are able to catch a glimpse into the “behind-the-scenes” of how Curious George came to be. We have been so fortunate to have the cooperation of the Rey Estate, and have their full permission to use these materials in the documentary. Using these rare materials to tell the Reys’ story is what will truly set this film apart.
The Reys were great storytellers, so ultimately, we looked to them to guide us. How would Hans and Margret tell their own story? We use audio and video records of Hans and Margret, accompanied by interviews we filmed of those who knew the Reys personally, or studied the Reys’ life. By using a narrator and graphical elements like page turns, we’ve designed the documentary to evoke the feeling of a Curious George book. Visually, the film will be a combination of animated sequences integrated with archival material, and sit-down interviews. It is our hope for audiences to step into the world of the Reys and understand their story through how they saw the world.
For the past two years, this project has been a true labor of love. Almost all the crew has worked for deferred or low payment, coming together to contribute to the project because they were captivated by the Reys' story and developed a passion for it. It's been an incredible journey to get this far with the resources available to us. But we can't bring the film to completion on our own, which is why we are turning to you — for your support.
Also, we wanted to give Curious George fans and others who are interested in the Reys' story an opportunity to be involved with the project before it's completed. We would like to incorporate the community we build throughout our campaign into the documentary — a way to demonstrate how the Reys' legacy lives on into the 21st century. We want to hear from YOU about how Curious George has impacted you or your children's lives, and will be encouraging you to do so throughout this Kickstarter campaign.
We are here on Kickstarter because we believe there are folks out there who want to help us make this film and do the Reys’ story justice. Kickstarter is all-or-nothing, so though we need $300K to finish the entire film (animating a film is expensive!) and get it out there into the world, we have set our Kickstarter campaign goal at $175K, an amount we believe we can reach via crowdfunding with all of your help.
To THANK YOU for backing our documentary we have a great selection of the usual favorite Rewards — official film t-shirts, film posters, signed DVDs and more. However, this campaign also offers something truly unique...
Partnering with the Rey Estate and the de Grummond Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, our documentary has been granted unprecedented access to original archived artwork, illustrations, sketches and nostalgic memorabilia.
Items marked as "limited" truly are one of a kind items created specifically for this campaign as a unique offering to thank you for becoming a part of the team.
Ema Ryan Yamazaki - Director / Producer / Editor
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. Read more about her work at www.emaexplorations.com.
Jacob Kafka - Lead 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, ASIFA-East Animation Festival, and been featured on Cartoon Brew. He developed the animation software ROUGHANIMATOR for mobile devices, which has been used by thousands of animators around the world. Using this app, Jacob has been creating animation for this Curious George documentary for the past year and a half. Ultimately, Jacob and his team will need to draw and color over 15,000 drawings for the animation in this documentary.
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 duPont-Columbia Awards. His work includes SLAM, HEIR TO AN EXECUTION, and the BRICK CITY TV-series. Ema has been Marc’s editor on various projects since 2013.
The Production Crew
During Ema’s time at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, she met Marc Katz (Director of Photography), Zach Stoltzfus (Gaffer), Will Thompson (Co-Producer / Sound Recordist) and Emily Harrold (Co-Producer). Ever since, we have been making films together. Each being directors or directors of photography in their own right, the team’s work has been seen at Cannes Lions, Tribeca Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, and Atlanta Film Festival as well as countless other festivals around the world, and their projects have been Vimeo Staff-picked numerous times. For this documentary, Marc, Zach and Will traveled across America with Ema to interview over 30 subjects who had known the Reys or had studied their life. Emily has been in charge of the archival materials and other producing-related matters.
Additionally, we have a team of people working on post-production of the film. Jason Cummings (Composer) and Rachel Lightner (Music Supervisor) are developing and creating the score, Matt Posorske and Naoko Saito are working on graphics, and Ines Farag has gathered hundreds of hours of archival materials for the film. Janice Rim (Background Designer) is working alongside Jacob in expanding the animated world, as well as many others who have helped out along the way. We also have Erin Sanger (Narration Writer), Adam Gundersheimer (Researcher / Developer), Giancarlo Baldino (Post-Production Supervisor), Eric Nyari (Consulting Producer), Jeremy Boros (Co-Producer) and One Thousand Birds (Sound Design and Mix) on our team.
Risks and challenges
The making of Curious George Documentary is close to completion. Once completed, the film will submit to festivals and seek worldwide distribution. We are confident that this film tells the extraordinary story of Hans and Margret Rey, and appeals to a significant Curious George fan base. We believe we are creating a product that will be sought after once completed. That being said, we cannot guarantee mass distribution of the film. But, we believe whole-heartedly in this project; we are determined to share this film with as many people as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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