Roving Eye Film Festival & Jewish Experience Series: "Arts and Culture: Shaping the Future, Reflecting the Past"
Introduced by the Rev. Nancy Hamlin Soukup, University Multifaith Chaplain
2:30 p.m., Global Heritage Hall 01
The Stories We Tell, the Stories We Share
Documentary Screening and Director's Discussion
Location: Global Heritage Hall, 01
MONKEY BUSINESS: The Adventures of Curious George's Creators
Directed by: Ema Ryan Yamazaki | 81 min. USA, 2017
In 2016, Curious George turned 75 years old. Since the first book was published in 1941, the stories of the adventurous little monkey who frequently finds himself in trouble have sold over 75 million copies in more than 20 languages. However, the story of George’s creators is much less known. MONKEY BUSINESS: The Adventures of Curious George's Creators explores the extraordinary lives of Hans and Margret Rey, whose creative spirit and resilient attitude produced a monkey loved by the world.
Both originally from Hamburg, Germany, Hans and Margret grew up in Jewish households shortly after the turn of the 20th century. As children, Hans was a genius beyond his years and a daydreamer, while Margret was outspoken and rebellious, always knowing just what she wanted. They first met when Hans was dating Margret’s older sister – Margret came sliding down the banister and landed at Hans’ feet. Years later, Margret had heard that Hans was wasting his artistic talents as a bookkeeper in Rio de Janeiro. She traveled to Brazil, persuaded him to marry her, and they started an advertising agency. They planned a four-week honeymoon to Paris, which ultimately became a four-year stay. While there, Hans and Margret became accidental children’s book authors when a French publisher suggested they try expanding one of Hans’ cartoons into its own story.
However, as German Jews living in Paris in the late 1930s, the Reys could not avoid the impact of war. In June of 1940, Hans and Margret were still in Paris as Hitler’s troops rapidly approached the city. Caught among the millions of refugees fleeing south, the only mode of transportation they could find was a tandem bicycle. It took no longer than two minutes on their test drive before Margret lost her patience: “I am not riding this with you Hans! Think of some other way.” That night, Hans became a bicycle maker, cobbling together spare parts to make two bicycles. Margret packed a few clothes and their life’s work – unpublished manuscripts for children’s books, including the first Curious George book in its entirety. The next morning, 48 hours before the Nazi troops arrived, the Reys pedaled out of Paris. Sleeping in barns and on floors of restaurants, they continued south through Spain and Portugal. When the border officials became suspicious of their German accents, they showed them pages from the Curious George manuscript – the guards were immediately taken with the story, and allowed them to continue on. Saved by their own creation – a carefree, irresistibly cute monkey – the Reys eventually made it out of Europe just as the horrors of the Holocaust were beginning to unfold. A few months later they sailed into the New York harbor and started life anew. Over the next three decades they wrote six more Curious George books, creating a children’s book classic and a global mascot that has lasted well beyond their own lives.
Hosted by Rev. Nancy Soukup, Roger Williams University.
Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross
Directed by: Roger Lyons | 55 min. USA, 2017
'Etched In Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross' is the compelling, true story of survival, resilience and hope. Young Steve, then Szmulek Rosenthal from Poland, was captured by the Nazis and endured 5 horrific years in 10 concentration camps. Upon his liberation from Dachau, an American soldier showed him kindness, which kindled his resilience, propelling him to dedicate his life to helping disadvantaged young people for over 40 years.
He was the driving force behind the iconic New England Holocaust Memorial on the Freedom Trail in Boston. All the while, Steve searched tirelessly for the soldier who changed the course of his life and the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
Featuring a discussion with the film’s director, Roger Lyons. Moderated by George T. Marshall, Executive Director of the Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival.
About Roger Lyons, Producer/Director
An award-winning writer/producer/director, Roger Lyons is an experienced and multi-talented veteran of New England television. Following successful stints at WBZ/WSBK, WCVB, WGBH, Metromedia, WVIT and WHDH, Roger runs his own production company, Many Hats Productions. His company produces commercials and PSA’s, web videos, documentaries and other video projects for a variety of sponsors and companies. Recently, he served as the Coordinating Producer on the documentary “Digital Man, Digital Age”, a film about the life and work of Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation.
Roger Lyons is National Trustee from the Boston/New England Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). In 2011, he received the prestigious Governors Award for the Boston/New England Chapter. He has also received numerous industry awards from organizations such as PBS, ProMaxBDA, Imagine Magazine and others.
In addition to his production work, he also serves as adjunct professor in the Communication Department at Curry College. He has also written 4 feature screenplays and has worked as a talent coach at Boston Casting.
Reception Follows at 6:00 p.m.