The World According to Sesame Street

Independent Lens celebrates fifth anniversary: season premiere Tuesday, October 24, at 9pm (check local listings)

Can the most-watched children’s television show change the world one child at a time?

(San Francisco)—The premiere episode of the fifth season of the PBS series Independent Lens, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET, explores the drama, challenges and complexities behind producing international versions of the world’s most-watched children’s television program. THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET follows productions in Bangladesh, Kosovo and South Africa and examines how producers from New York’s Sesame Workshop take the Sesame Street we know and love and localize it with indigenous songs, puppets and curricula, all the while facing cultural, political and production challenges in each country. 

Produced and directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton and Linda Hawkins Costigan with Participant Productions (Good Night and Good Luck, An Inconvenient Truth), THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET will have its broadcast premiere on the Emmy Award–winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Terrence Howard on Tuesday, October 24, at 9pm (check local listings). 

Education is more than alphabets and numbers, and the contradictions inherent in teaching human values in a world where AIDS, ethnic genocide and poverty dominate the landscape make THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET dramatic viewing and a fascinating primer on art, media and intercultural dialogue. 

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET will also serve as the premiere episode of ITVS Community Cinema's 2006-2007 season. Community Cinema is a monthly screening series that pairs select episodes of Independent Lens with local organizations, featured speakers and other resources related to the topic of the film. 25 community screenings of THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET will include panel discussions and presentations from leading organizations working on international development, education, and children's issues around the world. 

A special launch event for Community Cinema's 2006-2007 will feature THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET and a panel discussion including CARE USA, Amnesty International, and the Search for Common Ground at the headquarters of the National Geographic Society in Washington DC on Friday September 15, 2006. 

The interactive companion website for THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET ( features detailed information on the film, including an interview with the filmmakers and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film, and more. Participant Productions has created a separate website related to the program, which provides visitors with information on how they can become more directly involved in helping to spread the message and values of Sesame Street. More information is available at 

About the filmmakers 
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET marks Linda Goldstein Knowlton’s directorial debut. Previously, she produced the New Zealand film Whale Rider, which earned its star, Keisha Castle-Hughes, an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Prior to that, she initiated the development of and produced The Shipping News. She made her feature-film producing debut in 1999 with both Mumford, written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan, and Crazy in Alabama, directed by Antonio Banderas. She is currently completing a one-hour documentary on esteemed chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger as well as developing several feature films. Goldstein Knowlton is also researching several new documentary subjects, to be directed and produced with partner Linda Hawkins Costigan. She currently serves as a Sundance Trustee for the Humanitas Awards. LINDA HAWKINS COSTIGAN (Filmmaker, Producer) Linda Hawkins Costigan has been working in the film industry for 11 years. She has spent significant time in both development and production, honing her skills in the two areas. In 2001, Hawkins Costigan co-wrote and co-produced the documentary Inshallah: Diary of an Afghan Woman for the Oxygen Network. Hawkins Costigan also produced Sounds True and Big Buddha Baba Films. Although her love is documentaries, Hawkins Costigan dove into the world of reality television, producing for such networks as Fox, WB and CBS/UPN. She has also developed programming for Original Productions and Animal Planet. 

Mary Lugo: 770/623-8190,
Cara White: 843/881-1480, 

For more information and/or downloadable images, visit:
Independent Lens website:

Posted on August 24, 2006