A visionary gang harnessed the power of television
Saturday, Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. — WOODSTOCK — It’s no shock that “Sesame Street” was born from a mixture of idealism and academic seriousness. Created by TV producer Joan Ganz Cooney and psychologist Lloyd Morrisett, then the vice-president of the Carnegie Foundation, the show aimed to bridge socioeconomic rifts and reach kids who were falling behind in their education before they had even started kindergarten.
What does come as a bit of a surprise when watching the documentary “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street” is the reminder that the legendary series was thought of as an attempt to harness the addictive powers of an inescapable mass medium for the forces of good.
Over two showings on Saturday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the Billings Farm & Museum Theater, “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street” will take viewers inside the minds and hearts of the creators to help us understand not only how they produced this groundbreaking show, but also what it was like to be at the center of a cultural and social phenomenon.
The documentary concentrates on the most experimental and groundbreaking period of “Sesame Street.” The original surviving creators weave together personal narratives, and behind-the-scenes footage to reveal how they collaborated to push every boundary that confronted them, changing television, and changing the world.
“After more than 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ still has something to teach us” wrote reviewer Ben Kenigsberg in The New York Times after the film was released this spring.
This season the 12th annual Woodstock Vermont Film Series will present a selection of 10 diverse films reflecting Billings Farm & Museum’s vision to share place-based stories of people near and far, to engage our audiences, and to inspire conversations that increase connections with each other and our world. The Woodstock Vermont Film Series is curated and directed by award-winning filmmaker Jay Craven and produced by the Billings Farm & Museum, with generous support from local sponsors.
In re-opening the Billings Farm & Museum Theater to the film series, the health and safety of guests is a top priority. The theater has been upgraded with a MERV 13 filtration system. Film attendees are required to wear masks in the theater at all times and to show proof of vaccination to enter. For a full list of films and to purchase tickets, visit billingsfarm.org/filmseries or call 802-457-5303.