Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey will definitely be a documentary to watch at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival, whether you’re a fan of the little red monster or not. This award-winning documentary tells the little-known story of Kevin Clash. Kevin is the 50 year old, deep-voiced, 6 foot African American man who breathes life into the 3 and a half year old, squeaky-voiced, iconic character – and brings light into the lives of millions of children worldwide. This ‘feel good’ film also serves as a tribute to anyone who never gave up on their childhood dreams and worked hard their entire lives to make them come true.

Growing up in Baltimore watching Captain Kangaroo and Sesame Street, Kevin Clash dreamed of becoming a puppeteer. He started creating his own puppets at age 9 and performed shows for local kids. Despite his puppets’ outgoing personas, Kevin by contrast is very shy man; who through his artistry is able to convey his infectious sense of humour, love for life, and passion for entertaining.

This film has received great reviews on the festival circuit and will defintely be a wonderful night out, for young and old alike. For me it will also be fascinating to see inside the world of a professional puppeteer, having grown up in the heyday of The Muppets and Sesame Street –  bringing back many great memories I’m sure.

Although there’s no trailer available yet, here’s the ‘first look’ teaser and some interviews with the cast and crew – including Elmo himself!


Here’s the ‘first look’ teaser:

Elmo on the red carpet at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival:

Kevin Clash and Director Constance Marks interviewed by Moving Pictures’ Elliot Kotek at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival:

Beloved by children of all ages around the world, Elmo is an international icon. Few people know his creator, Kevin Clash, who dreamed of working with his idol, master puppeteer Jim Henson. Displaying his creativity and talent at a young age, Kevin ultimately found a home on Sesame Street. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, this documentary includes rare archival footage, interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O’Donnell, Cheryl Henson, Joan Ganz Cooney and others and offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sesame Street and the Jim Henson Workshop.

Directed by Constance Marks and Philip Shane, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey won the Special Jury Prize (Documentary) at this Year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Head over to the Film Fest Website to see when Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey is playing at a festival centre near you. No theatrical release dates have been announced, so catch it at the festival as it may be the only chance for a while.

Are you an Elmo fan? Will you go and see this film at the Fest regardless?