Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey is screening at Melbourne’s ACMI until Monday 30th January 2012. This Sundance award-winning documentary follows the life and work of Kevin Clash, the puppeteer and voice of one of Sesame Street’s most beloved characters, Elmo.
As a child Kevin was an obsessive of puppetry and Jim Henson‘s work, getting a job as a teenager performing with his home-made puppets on a local Baltimore TV show in the 70s. Driven by his passion, Clash eventually found his way to Sesame Street and created an iconic character for millions of children. Constance Marks‘ film follows Clash, Sesame Street’s Senior Puppet Coordinator, Muppet Captain and the Workshop’s Senior Creative Consultant, as he goes about work on set, meets with sick children who love Elmo and travels to teach puppeteers in France how to bring Sesame Street’s characters to life.
Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, the film takes us into the Sesame Street workshop and behind the scenes of the celebrated TV show, which has captured the imagination of generations of children around the world.
This documentary is light and frothy, missing moments for more in-depth analysis of Clash and his ambitious nature. Marks is perhaps too reverential to her subject and skips over the tougher questions. But for fans of Sesame Street, which lets face it is most of us, this film offers an opportunity to slip into some childhood nostalgia and wonder at the magnificence of Jim Henson’s legacy.
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey is screening at ACMI in Melbourne until 30 January 2012. For information and session times visit acmi.net.au