Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2011)
Kevin Clash (b. 1960) grew up on the outskirts of Baltimore watching Sesame Street (which debuted in 1969) and dreaming of going to Disneyworld. By age ten he was sewing, building and manipulating his own puppets, including giving shows for the neighborhood kids on a stage built by his dad. Yes, he endured teasing at school, but he had supportive parents. On a senior class trip to New York City he met Kermit Love, master puppeteer of Sesame Street. One year later he did a gig for Sesame Street in the Macy's Parade, after which the rest, as they say, is history. Clash went on to develop the character Elmo, who's characterized by love, hugs, and kisses. The Tickle Me Elmo doll became a global phenomenon. This documentary about Clash tells the story of the shy and unpretentious man behind the effusive muppet. It debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and since then has won numerous film awards and nominations. I watched Being Elmo on Netflix streaming; it makes for fantastic family viewing.