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Thursday, March 29th, 2012




Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey comes to WTVP-HD Sunday, April 8th at 10:30 p.m. on INDEPENDENT LENS.

Elmo and Kevin Clash

Adored by people around the world, Elmo is an international icon. But few people know the inspiring story of his creator, Kevin Clash. As a kid growing up in Baltimore in the 1970s, Clash had a dream to be a puppeteer and work with his idol, Jim Henson. With a supportive family behind him every step of the way, Clash made those dreams come true — and his Elmo is one of the most beloved characters of all time.


Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and directed by Constance Marks, the award-winning documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey comes to WTVP-HD Sunday, April 8th at 10:30 p.m. on INDEPENDENT LENS. The 90-minute film will encore the next night, Monday, April 9th at 8:00 p.m. on WTVP-HD.

The film includes rare archival footage and interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O’Donnell, Cheryl Henson, Joan Ganz Cooney, and others, offering a unique look at Kevin Clash’s life on Sesame Street and at the Jim Henson Workshop.





About Kevin Clash
Kevin Clash, whose characters include Elmo, Hoots the Owl, and Baby Natasha, is Sesame Street’s senior puppet coordinator and Muppet™ captain as well as Sesame Workshop’s senior creative consultant. Clash began building puppets at age 10 and performed on Baltimore’s harbor front and on local television as a teenager. Clash’s first professional television work was for the CBS affiliate in Baltimore. He came to Sesame Street after attracting the attention of Muppet™ designer Kermit Love. Clash’s film credits include Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I and II, Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets From Space, and Elmo in Grouchland. His television work includes The Great Space Coaster, Captain Kangaroo, Dinosaurs, and Muppets Tonight. He also was co-executive producer for Elmopalooza, CinderElmo, and Elmo’s World; co-producer for The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland; and director for Sesame Street episodes and other projects. Clash directed and co-produced the DVD series Sesame Beginnings for Sesame Workshop and directed and co-produced Sesame Workshop’s outreach DVD Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, and Changes.

His most recent work includes directing and appearing in Talk, Listen, Connect: When Families Grieve. He also directed the Muppet™ segments of the PBS primetime special Families Stand Together: Feeling Secure in Tough Times. Clash won the 2011 Emmy® Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series for his work as Elmo on Sesame Street; he also won the award for seasons 21, 35-37, 39, and 40. In 2001-2008, 2010, and 2011, he won for his work as co-executive producer for Outstanding Preschool Children’s Series. In September 2006, Clash released his autobiography, My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud.


About the Filmmakers

Constance A. Marks (Director/Producer) is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker. She is the founder and president of Constance Marks Productions, Inc., a documentary production company based in New York City. Marks began her filmmaking career more than 30 years ago as an assistant editor for the renowned cinema verite pioneers David and Albert Maysles.

Marks’ critically acclaimed films have been shown theatrically, broadcast widely, and garnered numerous awards. Her productions include Return to Appalachia, which aired on PBS; Let’s Fall in Love: A Singles Weekend at the Concord Hotel, which was selected by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as one of the outstanding documentaries of the year; and Green Chimneys, a full-length documentary feature film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO. Marks has produced numerous films focusing on important social issues including homelessness, the elderly, experimental charter schools, and substance abuse recovery residences.

James J. Miller (Cinematographer/Producer) received accolades for his cinematography on the 1997 documentary Green Chimneys. The documentary went on to win First Prize at Taos Talking Pictures, Best Film at the Bermuda International Film Festival, and Best Documentary at the Denver Film Festival and San Jose Film Festival. Miller began his career as a cameraman/lighting director during the late 1970s at a PBS affiliate and later started his freelance career in New York, where he joined the camera crew of Sesame Street. As a freelancer, Miller has traveled extensively throughout the globe as a director of photography and cameraman. His passion for “having every frame tell the story” has earned him multiple Emmy® Awards and nominations. His current projects include multi-camera entertainment, Broadway shows, and short-form documentaries. Miller is an avid marathoner and tri-athlete.

Corinne LaPook (Producer) started her career in the entertainment industry working for legendary graphic designer Lou Dorfsman at CBS. She joined the original team of MTV: Music Television during the revolutionary birth of the network. After working in the music industry for several years, including positions in artist management and marketing, she became the director of The American Film Institute’s New York office. LaPook has reunited with her 8th grade film classmate Connie Marks to produce Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.

Philip Shane (Co-Director/Writer/Editor) has been making documentaries for more than 20 years. He began at Maysles Films, learning editing and directing from his mentors Bob Eisenhardt, Larry Silk, Kathy Dougherty, and Susan Fromke. He was Eisenhardt’s co-editor on Constance Marks’ Green Chimneys (Sundance, 1996).

In addition to Being Elmo, Shane has edited many documentaries about famous performers, including Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women (Sundance Channel, 2007); Paul McCartney’s Wingspan (2001, Dir. Alistair Donald); and The Last of the First (2007, Dir. Anja Baron), about the legendary Harlem Blues & Jazz Band. He has also worked with Bruce Springsteen, Carly Simon, and The Boston Symphony.

At ABC News, Shane edited many long-form documentaries with senior producer Richard Gerdau for more than 10 years, including Ted Kopple’s Tip of the Spear (duPont-Columbia Award for Broadcast Journalism, 2004) and Martin Luther King, Jr.: Searching for the Promised Land (Emmy Award, 1999). A short film he made with Gerdau and Peter Jennings, Witness to History, which captured Jennings’ personal memories of September 11, 2001, has been placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

Shane also has a great passion for making films about scientists. Prior to Being Elmo, he produced and edited the two-hour special Einstein: The Real Story of the Man Behind the Theory (History Channel, 2008) and, with Justin Weinstein, has co-founded the science documentary company Pod Bay Productions.

Justin Weinstein (Editor/Writer) is a Brooklyn-based documentary filmmaker whose work over the past 10 years has been a combination of long- and short-form documentary films on many subjects, most often those focused on scientific and environmental issues.

Most recently, Weinstein produced several documentaries on energy issues. He produced, shot, and edited a 20-minute documentary about mountaintop coal mining for Al Jazeera English called Face-Off at Coal River Mountain. For the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), he co-produced the feature documentary Dirty Business: “Clean Coal” and The Battle for Our Energy Future.

Dirty Business was an outgrowth of Weinstein’s prior collaboration with CIR, filmmaker Peter Bull, and the award-winning PBS Frontline documentary Hot Politics, which tells the inside story of the past three presidential administrations’ difficulties dealing with the politics of climate change. During four years at ABC News and Peter Jennings Productions, Weinstein worked as a producer on numerous projects, including the prime-time ABC News two-hour documentary special Last Days on Earth. His earlier work included corporate projects, independent documentaries, and series for National Geographic and PBS. At WNET, the New York PBS member station, he worked on projects in the science department on subjects ranging from neurobiology to astrophysics. Together with Phil Shane, he co-founded the production company Pod Bay Productions, which specializes in science documentaries.

Joel Goodman (Composer) has scored more than 100 films and television shows for an impressive array of distinguished directors and producers, including Wong Kar-wei, Barbara Kopple, Albert Maysles, Barak Goodman, Kevin Spacey, Irene Taylor Brodsky, Andrew Jarecki, Mark Zwonitzer, Marshall Curry, Oren Jacoby, and Michael Epstein. Goodman’s new main theme for the top-rated PBS series American Experience will premiere in January 2011. His work includes many Oscar®-nominated films and Emmy® Award-winning television productions. Goodman is also an active record producer. For more information, please visit www.joelgoodman.com.

About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about unique individuals, communities, and moments in history. Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is supported by interactive companion websites and national publicity and community engagement campaigns. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. The series producer is Lois Vossen.





For further information contact Linda Miller, WTVP Vice President of Programming, at (309) 495-0591 or linda.miller@wtvp.org



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