About the Film

I AM BIG BIRD is a feature-length documentary about Caroll Spinney, who has been Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969… and at 78 years old, he has no intention of stopping. Think you know everything there is to know about Sesame Street ? You don’t. You might know that Frank Oz turned down an offer to play Big Bird, but you probably don’t know that until a last minute change of heart by NASA, Big Bird was supposed to go to space aboard the Challenger. Or you may know that Oscar the Grouch got his voice from a cantankerous cabbie, but you’d be surprised to learn that a fire in his trash can almost led to Caroll’s untimely demise. Caroll’s stories are the stuff of legend. He has been a constant presence in our lives for over 40 years, his path weaving through American history like that of Forrest Gump. His time inside the Bird has taught him about the world and about himself. I AM BIG BIRD will peel away the instances in Caroll’s life that inspired his creation of characters that influenced generations of children. And, as the yellow feathers give way to grey hair, it is the man, not the puppet, who will steal your heart.

WHAT YOU’LL SEE

In addition to compelling interviews with Caroll and his luminary puppeteer cronies, I AM BIG BIRD will feature fascinating material from Caroll’s personal archives. Among the treasures in the Spinney vault, we’ve found…

  • Never-before-seen footage capturing unscripted moments of Caroll with giants like Jim Henson, Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson
  • Caroll’s short films, in which he showcases his skill in animation, a talent that led to a job offer at Disney… which Caroll turned down
  • Thousands of snapshots and hundreds of hours of videos that capture his undying love for his wife
  • Paintings displaying his hidden passion for illustration
  • Puppets that were lovingly crafted by Caroll’s mother over 70 years ago and that he still uses today

We’re using these amazing artifacts to create a dynamic portrait of an unknown man whose characters have had unrivaled influence in American pop culture.