Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

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Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey
Theatrical release poster by Scott McDermott
Directed byConstance Marks
Written byPhilip Shane
Justin Weinstein
Produced byConstance Marks
Corinne LaPook
James Miller
Narrated byWhoopi Goldberg
CinematographyJames Miller
Edited byPhilip Shane
Justin Weinstein
Music byJoel Goodman
Distributed bySubmarine Deluxe United States
Mongrel Media Canada
Madman Entertainment Australia
Release dates
  • January 14, 2011 (2011-01-14) (Sundance)
  • October 21, 2011 (2011-10-21) (United States)
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$310,832

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey is a 2011 American documentary film about Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind the Sesame Street character Elmo who became a rising star and created a global sensation. “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” was one of the most talked about documentaries coming out of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.[1]


The film chronicles the journey of puppeteer Kevin Clash, the unlikely voice and mastermind behind Elmo. Focusing on Clash's childhood dreams and early career in Baltimore, Maryland; it covers his first meeting and relationship with Sesame Street creator Jim Henson, puppet maker Kermit Love, and documents his journey to success.[2]

Sesame Street camera man James Miller originally filmed Kevin Clash with Elmo looking at photos of Miller's 2 year-old daughter. After showing the footage to Constance Marks, she started thinking maybe this would be a good documentary, seeing the performer behind the muppet. They brought the idea to Kevin Clash who thought it was a great opportunity to talk about the work he loves.[3]




The film premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was a Grand Jury Prize nominee, but went on to win the Special Jury Prize. The Hollywood Reporter's Sundance Review for the film stated, "Being Elmo is a rare documentary that will connect across generations and cultures to delight viewers worldwide for years to come."[4]


Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 95% based on reviews from 78 critics.[5] The film received warm-hearted reviews by critics when it was released.[6][7][8][9]

Roger Ebert noted "We...learn a lot of the tricks behind giving the muppets such distinctive personality."[10] The New York Post reported: "One of the chief pleasures of Sundance [Film Festival] is wandering into a movie that you think couldn't possibly amount to anything much and being knocked out by it. The documentary 'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey,' which should make Kevin Clash a household name, is an inspiring and joyous celebration of art, skill, determination and making kids happy... Clash is a remarkable talent, a true master of his field, and the importance of what he does is considerable. Sick children apparently have asked to meet Elmo as their dying wish. If you can watch one such encounter without crying, you're a stronger man than I. Clash, pro that he is, doesn't cry. Because where there is Elmo, there must be happiness."[11] Look at OKC praised: "As director Constance Marks proves in her detailed and surprisingly emotional documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey, Clash's love of the art form eventually led him to create one of the most popular characters in children's television."[12]


  1. ^ "Get Warm & Fuzzy With The 'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey' Trailer". IndieWire. September 23, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  2. ^ Holmes, Linda (October 20, 2011). "'Being Elmo': Covering Raw Talent With Bright Red Fur". NPR. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  3. ^ "Kevin Clash BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER'S JOURNEY Interview". Collider. October 21, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  4. ^ "SUNDANCE REVIEW: 'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey' Pulls Back the Curtain on Iconic Character". The Hollywood Reporter. January 27, 2011. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  5. ^ "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  6. ^ "Movie review: 'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey'". The Los Angeles Times. November 4, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  7. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (October 21, 2011). "MOVIE REVIEW: 'BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEERS JOURNEY' Putting a Face to a Familiar Voice". The New York Times. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  8. ^ McCrary, Michelle Diane. "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey - Review". Wired. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  9. ^ "Movie review: 'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey'". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  10. ^ Roger Ebert. "Review: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey". Ebert Presents. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  11. ^ "Sundance 2011: "Being Elmo"". January 27, 2011. Archived from the original on December 4, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  12. ^ "Movie review: 'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey'". February 22, 1999. Retrieved May 13, 2012.

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