Children’s education is more than just ABCs and 123s. With today’s global landscape dominated by such pressing issues as poverty, human rights, AIDS and ethnic genocide, how can the world’s most-watched children’s television show bridge cultures while remaining socially relevant? The World According to Sesame Street explores the dramas, challenges and complexities behind producing international versions of the beloved television program. The film follows productions in Bangladesh, Kosovo, and South Africa and examines how producers from New York’s Sesame Workshop take the iconic American television show and localize it with indigenous songs, puppets, and curricula while facing cultural, political, and production challenges.
When it first aired in 1969, Sesame Street was considered groundbreaking. A product of the era’s progressive and civil rights movements, it boasted the first mixed-race cast and first urban setting on a children’s television show. One of the program’s goals was to help level the educational playing field for all pre-school children. Sesame Workshop’s international co-productions now illustrate the current political and social environments of their home countries.
Today, Sesame Street is aired in more than 120 countries around the world, and Sesame Workshop is developing co-productions in India, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Northern Ireland, and Brazil. As fascinating primer on art, media and intercultural dialogue, The World According to Sesame Street illustrates both the many cultural differences and similarities of producing the children’s television program on a global level.
- Linda Goldstein KnowltonProducer/Director
- Linda Hawkins CostiganProducer/Director