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Zebee Read Series: Georgie Yukiko Donovan

After being invited to a fantastic event held in the Soho Hotel, hosted by Bumble and WDW marketing, Zebee was introduced to the Female Film Force, an incredible competition supporting female film directors in a male-dominated field. The program allows filmmakers from all over the United Kingdom & Ireland to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts. If chosen they would receive £20,000 to create a short film in a few months with some guidance and mentoring.  This is where we met Georgie, a young ambitious entrepreneur with a flair for travel documentaries and Japanese culture.


‘I always say I’m not just mixed race, I’m bicultural. I feel Japanese and English.’

Japan has become a hot spot for Western tourism in recent years. It is a country that keeps its history and past very close to its heart but is also viewed as super hyper-modern.


After working on a documentary for the BBC  ‘Ryan Gander: The Idea of Japan’ Georgie got to see the Japanese culture in a variety of ways from meeting ASIMO the robot, ‘The World's Most Advanced Humanoid Robot’, through to bonding in the Pacific depths with the unique and inspiring Ama Divers. The Ama divers dive without scuba gear or air tanks to search for pearls, sea urchins and Japanese lobsters, and Ise Ebi,  and it's said they wear white to ward off sharks.


‘Cut from the BBC documentary this really upset me.‘

Hearing how Georgie had immersed herself into the Ama Culture and documented, directed and produced in the biggest typhoon in 25 years, we just had to know more. We invited Georgie & Joey (Georgie’s adorable dog) into the Aldgate Tower WeWork to ask her a few questions about travel and the meaning behind the AMA short film. 


DID YOU HAVE ANY RESTRICTIONS OR GUIDELINES?


'Literally, when we were given the money it was put your money where your mouth is. For most of the directors, it was sink or swim!'


'WDW Entertainment, an independent communications agency for Bumble, was so supportive and going above and beyond to make sure we achieved our best.'


THE WORST TYPHOON IN 25 YEARS?


'Trapped in the hotel during the typhoon, cabin fever definitely set in! Most of the staff were gone too because of the typhoon. Luckily in Japan, we have vending machines everywhere which also include ones that sell alcohol, so we just stocked up on snacks and booze, got merry and explored the hotel! We found a couple of massage chairs in front of a huge window that looked across the bay, so we all took turns on those while we watched the typhoon. We also found a super old rickety games room with a couple of ping pong tables so we blasted some 80s tunes and drank.'


DID YOU TRAVEL SOLO WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER?


'Yes, I started off with a friend we did Guatemala and Belize and then got to Cancun in Mexico and I wanted to go solo and it was the best decision of my life. Japan and Mexico are my two favourite places in the world.'


DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, PRESENTER - SEEMS LIKE YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING?


'Ever since this short film came out I feel like I can openly say I am a director and also a presenter.'


HAVE YOU DONE ANY OTHER TRAVEL DOCUMENTARIES BEFORE AMA?


'One of my clients is Wahaca the owners Tommi and Mark used to live in Mexico and took me with them for a research project where I filmed and documented the Mexican food Culture. I've also done some short clips for MTV Fit - tasty style videos, I love food!'


IF YOU COULD DOCUMENT ANYTHING IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW - WHAT WOULD IT BE?


'There is still so much untapped in Japan. I have an idea of a documentary for Japan regarding the current state of Japan and the West. We are not as different as people think and I would love to capture this.'


'The power of women and what can be done when women unleash their power. I feel like talent exists everywhere. Talent is universal and transcends gender and race and sexuality and its opportunity that isn't universal. It’s not that there is a lack of female talent it’s a lack of opportunity for women and this project has just proven that when you give women the power & opportunity amazing things can be done.'


Fun Fact -  The Ama says that the reason women are better suited for this way of life is because they naturally have a layer of subcutaneous fat that men lack which allows them to dive deeper and for longer in the cold waters. 

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