‘I AM BIG BIRD’ hugs your heart and soul. Liz talks childhood flashbacks and this touching documentary.

I am big bird posterWhen I was a very small child, my mother would set me up each morning on my little wooden and plastic potty with a tray of cheerios and Sesame Street. Every night, I listened to the likes of Bert and Ernie, Telly and Grover, but I as I think back to a voice that was so distinct, I always think of one in particular. A tall, endearing, yellow fellow named Big Bird. When I was a preschool teacher I played my students the songs of my past and I fully intend to share the same memories with my own children. Chad Walker and Dave LaMattina bring us the joyous new documentary about the man inside the bird, Caroll Spinney. I AM BIG BIRD is a fascinating look into how this beloved character came to fruition.

Caroll Spinney in I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY a Tribeca Film release.

Caroll Spinney in I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY a Tribeca Film release.

From humble beginnings, a volatile relationship with his father, and a supportive mother, Caroll fell in love with puppetry early on. As a young boy this did not necessarily make school an easy environment, but he soldiered on in his passion. Caroll was discovered at a 1969 Puppet Festival by none other than Jim Henson and fate. The two had a very special  relationship, with Jim being a less of a boss and more of a friend and mentor to Caroll. Navigating through bouts of depression and low self worth, work was his saving grace as was his second wife Debra. Her love brought him back to life and has sustained the magic both on screen and behind the scenes ever since. The Big Bird we know now what not always this childlike. Initially, he was a very skinny yokel type. Thankfully, with more self confidence and encouragement from the entire Sesame Street family, Caroll gave us the magical creature we adore today.

Caroll Spinney and Debra Spinney in I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY a Tribeca Film release.

Caroll Spinney and Debra Spinney in I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY a Tribeca Film release.

Walker and LaMattina had a gold mine of footage from Sesame Workshop but the jackpot came from Caroll and Deb’s years of home video footage. Mixed with Caroll’s own art work, intimate sit down interviews with his children, Sesame cast members, and even Jim’s daughter, we are privileged as an audience to see how moments of time came to be. From Follow The Bird to Big Bird in China and many other Muppet specials, we see the good and the bad. There are no kid gloves when it comes to talking about Caroll and company. One of innumerable interesting things we learn is that Caroll also plays Oscar the Grouch. You learn how this has become the perfect counter balance to our big yellow friend and Caroll alike. Their memories become your own and tear at your heartstrings. You feel so special as you see past the feather into Caroll’s soul.

Caroll Spinney and Jim Henson in I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY a Tribeca Film release.

Caroll Spinney and Jim Henson in I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY a Tribeca Film release.

We all have an innate love for Kermit and Big Bird. The Muppets and Sesame Street have molded millions of minds all over the globe since their inception. You will watch this film with tears in your eyes and laughter in your heart. There is no escaping the love that engulfs this movie. This is a timeless classic you will want to show your children down the line. I AM BIG BIRD is nothing short of extraordinary.

Caroll Spinney in I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY a Tribeca Film release.

Caroll Spinney in I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY a Tribeca Film release.

Stay tuned for an interview with directors Chad Walker and Dave LaMattina in the next few days!

Release Date

VOD: Available on iTunes & VOD: May 5, 2015
Theatrical: Select theatrical release beginning May 6, 2015
New York: IFC Center – opens May 6, 2015
May 15:
Boston: Brattle Theater – opens May 15, 2015
Chicago: Gene Siskel Film Center – opens May 15, 2015
Columbus: Gateway Film Center – opens May 15, 2015
Detroit: Cinema Detroit – opens May 15, 2015
Los Angeles area:
– Los Angeles: Royal – opens May 15, 2015
– Santa Ana, CA: South Coast Village – opens May 15, 2015
Minneapolis: St Anthony Main – opens May 15, 2015
New Orleans: Zeitgeist Theater – opens May 15, 2015
Philadelphia: PFS at Roxy Theater – opens May 15, 2015
Portland: Living Room Theaters – opens May 15, 2015
San Diego: Digital Cinema – opens May 15, 2015
Santa Fe: CCA – opens May 15, 2015
San Francisco area:
– Berkeley: Rialto Cinemas Elmwood – opens May 15, 2015
– San Francisco: Balboa Theater – opens May 15, 2015
– Sonoma: Sebastopol Rialto Cinemas – opens May 15, 2015
Scottsdale: Shea 14 – opens May 15, 2015
May 22:
Eugene, OR: Metro Cinemas – opens May 22, 2015
Gainesville, FL: The Wooly – opens May 22, 2015
Louisville: Village 7 – opens May 22, 2015
Miami area:
– Coral Gables: Cosford Cinema – May 22,2015
– Miami: O-Cinema – opens May 22,2015
Palm Springs: Camelot – opens May 22, 2015
Pittsburgh: Hollywood Theater – opens May 22, 2015
Sedona, AZ: Mary Fischer Theater – opens May 22, 2015
May 29:
Denver: Sie Film Center – opens May 29, 2015
June 10:
Boulder, CO: Boedicker Theater – opens June 10, 2015
June 12:
Seattle: SIFF Cinema – opens June 12, 2015
Bellingham, WA: Pickford – opens June 12, 2015
Pelham, NY: Picturehouse – opens June 12, 2015

Director

Dave LaMattina and Chad N. Walker

Screenwriter

Dave LaMattina

Producer(s)

Dave LaMattina and Chad N. Walker

Cast

Caroll Spinney

Runtime

87 minutes

SYNOPSIS

For 45 years, Caroll Spinney has been beloved by generations of children as the man behind Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch – and at 80 years old, he has no intention of stopping. A loving portrait of the man in the yellow suit, I Am Big Bird features extraordinary footage of Spinney’s earliest collaborations with Jim Henson as it traces his journey from bullied child to childhood icon. And as the yellow feathers give way to grey hair, it is the man, not the puppet, who will steal your heart.

Loads of Interesting Random Facts About the Academy Awards aka Oscars

Oscars 87o_tunein_stacked

Here are a bunch of random facts about the Academy Awards. Some are quite surprising. which one shocked you the most?

Top winner & nominee for Visual Effects

Won: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes BackE.T. the Extra-TerrestrialStar Wars: Episode VI – Return of the JediIndiana Jones and the Temple of DoomInnerspaceThe AbyssTerminator 2: Judgment DayJurassic Park


Kathleen Kennedy has been nominated as producer 8 times, but never won


BEST PICTURE NOMINEES DIRECTED BY WOMEN

Out of 11, only 3 were nominated for directing and only 1 won

  • Zero Dark Thirty [Kathryn Bigelow was NOT nominated for directing]
  • The Kids Are All Right [Lisa Cholodenko was NOT nominated for directing]
  • Winter’s Bone [Debra Granik was NOT nominated for directing]
  • The Hurt Locker [Kathryn Bigleow won for directing]
  • An Education [Lone Scherfig was NOT nominated for directing]
  • Little Miss Sunshine [Valerie Faris (and Jonathan Dayton) were NOT nominated for directing]
  • Lost in Translation [Sofia Coppola was nominated for directing]
  • The Piano [Jane Campion was nominated for directing]
  • The Prince of Tides [Barbra Streisand was NOT nominated for directing]
  • Awakenings [Penny Marshall was NOT nominated for directing]
  • Children of a Lesser God [Randa Haines was NOT nominated for directing]

Top 3 winners & nominees of Best Makeup

  • Rick Baker – 7 wins, 11 nominations
  • Greg Cannom – 3 wins, 9 nominations
  • Ve Neill – 3 wins, 8 nominations

Top winner & nominee of Best Song

  • Sammy Cahn – 4 wins, 26 nominations

Top 2 winners & nominees of Best Score

  • Alfred Newman – 9 wins, 41 nominations
  • John Williams – 5 wins, 44 nominations

THE ONLY SEQUELS TO WIN BEST PICTURE

  • The Godfather Part II (1974)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

THE ONLY X-RATED FILM TO WIN BEST PICTURE

  • Midnight Cowboy (1969)

[The film was subsequently edited and given an R rating in 1971.]


THE ONLY FILMS TO WIN THREE ACADEMY AWARDS FOR ACTING

  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  • Network (1976)

[To date, no film has won all four of the Academy Awards for acting.]


THE ONLY PERFORMERS TO WIN CONSECUTIVE ACADEMY AWARDS

  • Luise Rainer, 1936 and 1937
  • Spencer Tracy, 1937 and 1938
  • Katharine Hepburn, 1967 and 1968
  • Jason Robards, 1976 and 1977
  • Tom Hanks, 1993 and 1994

Top winner & nominee for Writing

  • Woody Allen – 3 wins, 16 nominations

THE ONLY PERSON TO WIN AN OSCAR FOR PLAYING A MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITE SEX

Linda Hunt, 1983, Best Supporting Actress for The Year of Living Dangerously.


THE ONLY THREE-GENERATION OSCAR-WINNING FAMILIES

  • The Hustons. Walter Huston won Best Supporting Actor in 1948; son John Huston won Best Director and Best Screenplay in 1948; and granddaughter Anjelica Huston won Best Supporting Actress in 1985.
  • The Coppolas. Carmine Coppola won for Original Dramatic Score in 1974; son Francis Ford Coppola’s first win was for Original Screenplay in 1970; and granddaughter Sofia Coppola won for Original Screenplay in 2003.

THE ONLY BROTHER AND SISTER TO WIN ACTING OSCARS

  • Lionel Barrymore, 1930/31
  • Ethel Barrymore, 1944

THE ONLY SISTERS TO WIN ACTING OSCARS

  • Joan Fontaine, 1941
  • Olivia de Havilland, 1946 and 1949

THE ONLY BROTHERS NOMINATED FOR ACTING OSCARS

  • River Phoenix, 1988
  • Joaquin Phoenix, 2000, 2005 and 2012

THE ONLY MARRIED COUPLES TO WIN ACTING OSCARS

  • Laurence Olivier (1948) and Vivien Leigh (1951).
    [They were not yet married when Leigh won her first Oscar in 1939.]
  • Paul Newman (1986) and Joanne Woodward (1957).
    [They were married in 1958, prior to Woodward receiving 1957’s Best Actress award.]

The only Oscar winner with parents who both received Oscars

Liza Minnelli. Her mother Judy Garland received an Honorary miniature Oscar in 1939; father Vincente Minnelli won Best Director in 1958; Liza Minnelli won Best Actress in 1972.


The most Oscar-nominated Family

The Newmans, with 88 nominations and counting. Brothers Alfred Newman (43 nominations), Emil Newman (1), and Lionel Newman (11); second generation, Randy Newman (20), David Newman (1), and Thomas Newman (12).


3 films that won Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor and Writing

  • 1934 – It Happened One Night
  • 1975 – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • 1991 – The Silence of the Lambs

5 films nominated in over 4 categories, winning ALL

  • 11) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  • 9) Gigi (1958)
  • 9) The Last Emperor (1987)
  • 5) It Happened One Night (1934)
  • 4) The Matrix (1999)

5 films nominated over in over 10 categories, winning NONE

  • 11) The Turning Point (1977)
  • 11) The Color Purple (1985)
  • 10) Gangs of New York (2002)
  • 10) True Grit (2010)
  • 10) American Hustle (2013)

3 films winning 11 awards

  • Ben-Hur, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1959 (12 nominations)
  • Titanic, 20th Century Fox and Paramount, 1997 (14 nominations)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, New Line, 2003 (11 nominations)

France, Italy and Spain are the 3 most nominated and awarded countries in the Foreign Language Award

  • France – nominated 36 times, awarded 11
  • Italy – nominated 28 times, awarded 9
  • Spain – nominated 29 times, awarded 4

Top 10 Youngest Winners

  • Best Actress 21-26
  • Best Actor 29-34
  • Best Supporting Actress 10-27
  • Best Supporting Actor 20-35

These actors have been nominated at least 5 times, but never won

  • GLENN CLOSE (3 actress; 3 supporting)
  • AMY ADAMS (1 actress; 4 supporting)

Films winning both Best Actress and Best Actor

  • 1997 – Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt — As Good As It Gets
  • 1991 – Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster — The Silence of the Lambs
  • 1981 – Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn — On Golden Pond
  • 1978 – Jon Voight, Jane Fonda — Coming Home
  • 1976 – Faye Dunaway — Network
  • 1975 – Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher — One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • 1934 – Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert — It Happened One Night

FREE Stream of Live Action Short Nominee ‘Helium’ Plus Rent or Buy All the Oscar-Nominated Short Films on Vimeo

helium

“A young boy Alfred is dying, but through the stories about HELIUM – a magical fantasy world, told by the hospital’s eccentric janitor Enzo, Alfred regain the joy and happiness of his life, and finds a safe haven away from daily life.” via IMDb – Watch “Helium” by clicking this link. Read More →

If the 2014 Oscar nominees’ posters told the truth

Liz found this gem on reddit and we all just love it so we are sharing it with the masses. Which one is your favorite?

Read More →