1. Welcome to the Muppet Central Forum!
    You are viewing our forum as a guest. Join our free community to post topics and start private conversations. Please contact us if you need help with registration or your account login.

  2. "Muppet Guys Talking" Debuts On-line
    Watch the inspiring documentary "Muppet Guys Talking", read fan reactions and let us know your thoughts on the Muppet release of the year.

    Dismiss Notice
  3. Sesame Street Season 48
    Sesame Street's 48th season officially began Saturday November 18 on HBO. After you see the new episodes, post here and let us know your thoughts.

    Dismiss Notice

New Sesame Street documentary to be produced

Discussion in 'Sesame Worlds' started by OverUnderAround, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. OverUnderAround

    OverUnderAround Well-Known Member

    Found this on the web:

    Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:30 AM ET

    Participant Prods. is teaming up with International Street Prods. to produce "The World According to Sesame Street." Linda Goldstein Knowlton and Linda Hawkins will direct and produce the documentary, which examines the history of the children's program as well as its cultural, political and social impact around the globe. The film will shoot for a year across several continents; Sesame Workshop co-produces 20 different "Sesame" productions worldwide with local producers, directors, casts and crews.

    A documentary that will examine the cultural, political and social impact of the various foreign versions of "Sesame Street" is getting ready to begin a yearlong shoot across several continents.

    Among the topics of "The World According to Sesame Street" are the impact of an HIV -positive "Muppet" character in compelling the South African government to address the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic, the creation of a strong female character that challenged traditional gender roles in Egypt and programing designed to foster cross-cultural tolerance in post-conflict Kosovo.

    Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

  2. janicegroupie

    janicegroupie Well-Known Member

    This sounds like it would be a really and very interesting documentary. I hope it really does happen. It would be neat to learn more about the other SS around the world and see exactly how this documentary comes together.
  3. superfan

    superfan Well-Known Member

    Sounds absolutely fantastic!
    Keep us up to date, if you can!
  4. KGJC

    KGJC Well-Known Member

    Awsome! :excited: :crazy:
  5. erniebert1234ss

    erniebert1234ss Well-Known Member

    me too, awesome!
  6. McFraggle

    McFraggle Well-Known Member

    That sounds very interesting. :)
  7. zanimum

    zanimum Well-Known Member

  8. doctort13

    doctort13 Well-Known Member

    Great! Will PBS air it? I hope it makes it to DVD too.
  9. MeepEeep

    MeepEeep Active Member

    The strong female role model Muppet//character :confused: , from the Egypt show sounds cool. :D
  10. Pino

    Pino Well-Known Member

    Wow I cant waith to see that on dvd!!!
  11. Bootsy

    Bootsy Active Member


    It sounds interesting I really hope that they do make it. :) :cool:
  12. doctort13

    doctort13 Well-Known Member

    Any news?

    Has anyone heard a release date for this film?
  13. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Wow, this documentart sounds REALLY cool! Does this mean we'll be treated to some more "behind-the-scenes" footage? For me, that was the highlight of the "A&E Sesame Street Biography".
  14. zanimum

    zanimum Well-Known Member

    I think the intent is to take it around the festival circuit first, before putting it on TV.
  15. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Any updates on this?
  16. doctort13

    doctort13 Well-Known Member

    "Sesame Street Biography" on A&E 12/21/05

    Not a new documentary, but still of interest for those who have yet to see it:

    A&E will re-air their wonderful behind-the-scenes special about Sesame Street - "Sesame Street Biography". The 2-hour special is being shown in two hour-long parts as a part of A&E's morning "A&E Classroom" programing block. The hour-long "Part 1" will air on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 at 7:00am ET/PT; and the second hour, "Part 2", will air the very next day (Thursday, December 22, 2005) at the same time (7:00am ET/PT) -- check your local listings for details.

    I wayched it when it first aired and really enjoyed it. You'll see LOTS of clips from the early days!:)
  17. Kimp the Shrimp

    Kimp the Shrimp Well-Known Member

  18. OverUnderAround

    OverUnderAround Well-Known Member


    The documentary premiered last night according to the Toronto Star at the Sundance Film Festival.

    The Muppets take the planet
    Jan. 22, 2006. 01:00 AM
    PARK CITY, Utah—Around the world it is known as Sisimpur, Sesamstrasse, Barrio Sesamo and dozen of other names.

    We in North America call the venerable children's TV show by its original name: Sesame Street. It has gone a long way from the inner-city U.S. neighbourhood where it began in 1968, stretching now to 120 nations around the globe, with more to come — Afghanistan among them.

    But the show hasn't been able to escape politics and accusations of cultural imperialism, with even Big Bird being accused of exporting unwelcome American values.

    The World According to Sesame Street, a documentary by Linda Goldstein Knowlton and Linda Hawkins Costigan that premiered here last night at the Sundance Film Festival, examines the difficulties of trying to teach the world to sing along with Muppets.

    Even the notion of childhood is different in other places, where children in extreme poverty work as early as age five and some in rural villages don't even have a firm grasp of what a street is.

    The filmmakers show how Sesame Street was considered radical upon its debut near the end of the 1960s. Original show organizer Joan Ganz Cooney reveals no one had previously tried to take a kids' show out of the world of make-believe and into the streets; now it happened as older youth were violently protesting the Vietnam War and other social issues.

    Americans immediately embraced the show, and other countries were also quick to love Sesame Street, with its hip and cheerful methods of teaching the basics. They wanted their own version. In 1969 Germany was the first to come knocking. Cooney was shocked: "We thought we'd created the quintessential American show."

    Germany's Sesamstrasse substituted a giant bear for Big Bird, a bear being more familiar to German children. It was the first of many compromises Sesame Street has made over the years to teach as many kids as possible.

    The film examines Sesame Street offshoots in South Africa, Kosovo and Bangladesh, the latter being so new — the show there is called Sisimpur — that it provides the doc with most of its drama. The producers wanted to reach the 130 million people who watch Bangladesh TV, but political brinksmanship between the government and opposition parties and ideological concerns kept the show off the air until the middle of last year.

    In Kosovo, meanwhile, it was necessary to have two different versions of the show, to avoid inflaming tensions between warring Serbs and Albanians. Show producers had to wade through street riots just to get to their studios.

    Many countries have refused to allow Big Bird onto their versions, claiming he's too American. But the Chinese, oddly, embraced the doofus.

    The World According to Sesame Street is at times too boosterish and could have used more discussion of the merits of exporting western values, no matter how noble the intent. As a Bangladesh puppeteer puts it, "Internationalism doesn't mean you have to copy the rich country."

    It is still a valuable study of the rewards and difficulties of seeking common ground amongst disparate cultures.

  19. Kimp the Shrimp

    Kimp the Shrimp Well-Known Member

    thats great so hopefully it gets a distrubition deal
  20. OverUnderAround

    OverUnderAround Well-Known Member

    Here's another review:

    Sundance Review: The World According to Sesame Street
    Posted Jan 22nd 2006 12:53AM

    Produced by Participant Productions – the high-minded, recently-minted production firm behind Syriana, Good Night, and Good Luck and other films – The World According to Sesame Street has an irresistible premise: It offers to take us along with the Children's Television Workshop's staff as they create regionally-themed segments for the Sesame Street programming in three troubled nations – Bangladesh, Kosovo, and South Africa. The first image in the film is of Bangladeshi children filling empty Pepsi bottles with brackish water to bring back to town … and after emptying them, going in to watch TV.

    So, they don't have easy access to water .. but they do get Bangladesh's one, state-owned channel. Even as you're scratching your head over the curious question of priorities, you're nonetheless not shocked that moving images are more available than flowing water. As Children's Television Workshop head Joan Ganz Cooney puts it, "It's not whether children learn from TV; it's what children learn from TV." Kids need good television; kids in troubled nations, even more so. So how, then, do you create positive programming that's strong enough to overcome poverty, ethnic hatred, health crises and fragile governments with nothing more than ping-pong ball eyes, years of experience and brightly-colored fabric? How, to be glib, do you tackle deeply-felt concerns with, well, felt?

    The press screening of The World According to Sesame Street was packed, and the initial response to the film may have been tempered by Gen-X and Gen-Y nostalgia as Sesame Street footage we all grew up with was interspersed with interview footage and on-the-job efforts of producers traveling to other nations to talk with local production teams. The original Sesame Street was created in 1968, at the height of the Civil Rights era, as America was facing tough questions, and its gentle, fuzzy (literally and figuratively) liberalism was a soothing balm to a wounded nation. Surely the same thing can happen in Kosovo, ravaged by ethnic separatism? Or Bangladesh, where children live primarily in rural communities burdened by poverty? Or South Africa, where AIDS is tearing the life out of a nation already reeling from dealing with apartheid?

    The problem with The World According to Sesame Street is that while it's got an impressive premise, it's hampered by directorial choices that are either curious at best or disastrous at worst. The directorial team of Linda Goldstein Knowlton and Linda Hawkins Costigan may have plenty of muppet footage from the original Sesame Street and other regional adaptations at the start of the film – and let's face it, you can get a lot of goodwill out of showing Ernie singing "Rubber Duckie" in German – but the later parts of the film devolve into meeting after meeting after meeting as Children's Television Workshop staffers encounter setbacks and difficulties working with regional partners.

    The essential rule of documentary film making – or any film making – is "Show, don't tell." But The World According to Sesame Street doesn't show us footage from the Bangladeshi and Kosovar projects. Even so, it's not as if there's not precedent to be drawn upon: As the producers reflect on the difficulties in having Kosovar Serbs and Albanians work together, one offers "Well, it's like what happened with the Israelis and the Palestinians. …" It's a tossed-off line, but it made me writhe in frustration when it became apparent that the filmmakers weren't going to actually follow-up: What did CTW do for the Israeli version of Sesame Street, Rechov Sumsum? How did they deal with a previous problem of ethnic and religious separation? It's a question that's left to dangle, as instead we get more footage of people driving to meetings, taking phone calls and walking through production spaces. The World According to Sesame Street is a great example of how a good subject doesn't always make for good moviemaking – and how if you can tell your story by showing us adults talking on phones or kids talking to muppets, you should probably go with the latter.

    Unfortunately it's not getting good reviews.

Share This Page