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Accountant Finds New Identity as Documentary Film Producer

How many bananas did you go through making the movie? On the other hand, Sandra Day O’Connor, more concerned about a young entrepreneur’s need to breakeven, asked Bob when she will see him seeing real returns out of this movie. Then, there were a couple of rather intelligent questions about what a marriage between a man and a monkey really meant… perhaps something best left to the creative and curious business minds of T-birds on a Thursday pub night!

Sometimes life takes you down different paths.  A major part of the Thunderbird experience is trying different things, and being open to new ideas and experiences. No, no, definitely not…. we are not talking about switching from engineering to finance here. Bob Girvin talks about his transition from nerdy accounting (not sure what Prof Dale Davidson will have to say about this!) to fancy movie making in a story about his journey producing a documentary film telling the tale of “Man of the Monkey.”

Just a mere two years amanofthemonkeygo, Thunderbird MBA student Bob Girvin held an office job, working as an Internal Auditor for a technology company.  He had worked in a corporate environment for several years and had great experiences, but he was looking for something different.  A love for independent films and a connection with a friend in Philadelphia, David Romberg, led him to the opportunity to embark on a unique journey to make a documentary film.

David, a Temple University graduate film student, put together an interesting proposal for Bob.  His crazy idea was to shoot his first feature length film on a remote island off the coast of Brazil called Ilha Grande, about his journey to find a reclusive man who lived with a monkey on the island.  Accountants are typically known for being risk averse, but Bob decided to answer David’s proposal by saying “Why not?  You only live once.”  With their agreement, Bob and David started a company, Man of the Monkey LLC, and began planning their project.

During the summer of 2011, just before starting the MBA program at Thunderbird, Bob traveled to Ilha Grande, Brazil for two months with his crew to shoot Man of the Monkey.  During that time they shot over 70 hours of footage to make the film.  Since that time, Bob has been working on his MBA at Thunderbird and applying the knowledge he learned in the classroom, to his experience of running Man of the Monkey LLC. This has helped develop a strong interest in entrepreneurship for Bob while at Thunderbird, and he hopes to launch a company or work on the business side of the film industry, post-Thunderbird.

Bob and David are currently working on post-production, which includes editing, sound design and finishing the 90-minute film by Spring/Early Summer 2013.  Soon, they plan to submit the film to Film Festivals around the world in hopes to secure international distribution to a theatre near you.  In order to do this, they are raising funds on kickstarter.com, a crowd funding website.  The fundraiser is running until October 20th.  Kudos to Bob for giving us another fascinating story that boasts how diverse we T-birds are!

If you are interested in supporting their efforts, with a tax-deductible donation of as little as $4, you can check out the project at:


For more information on the film, feel free to visit: http://manofthemonkey.com. A preview of the documentary is available at: http://player.vimeo.com/video/49084739

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