HBO’s ‘Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street’ Acquired By Chicken Soup For The Soul Entertainment’s Screen Media

Robert Fuhring/Courtesy Sesame Workshop/HBO

A is for Acquisition! Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s company Screen Media has acquired the North American rights to HBO’s Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street ahead of its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Screen Media is set to release the docu in theaters and into the home entertainment market in Spring 2021. The HBO Documentary Film will debut on HBO and HBO Max later in the year.

Inspired by Michael Davis’ New York Times best-selling book and directed by Marilyn Agrelo (Mad Hot Ballroom), the documentary chronicles the improbable origins and expansion of the groundbreaking show that not only changed children’s television programming, but had real-world effects on equality, education, and representation worldwide.

In Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street, we are re-introduced to the visionary “gang” of mission-driven artists, writers, and educators that audaciously interpreted radical changes in society and created one of most influential and impactful television programs in history. With more than 20 interviews with original writers, cast, and crew, and never-before-seen behind the scenes footage, the docu is told from the inside with humor and emotion, weaving together personal narratives and eyewitness accounts. The film explores the cultural phenomenon that has inspired and educated us for 51 years and reached more than 150 countries.

“We were inspired to make this film because of our love for ‘Sesame Street.’ What we hope people will take away is a deeper understanding of the amazing people who made the show,” said producer Trevor Crafts.

Producer Ellen Scherer Crafts added, “That ’gang’ rose to a challenge in their time, to change things for the better for children. They created such a significant impact in education, access, and representation for so many people – all with love and laughter.”

“The Sesame Street gang inspired us with their passion to make the world a better place,” said William J. Rouhana Jr., chief executive officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. “Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is committed to changing the world one story at a time and we are delighted to share this incredible story with the largest audience possible.”

Socially conscious TV exec Joan Ganz Cooney and Sesame Workshop co-founder Lloyd Morrisett were inspired by the activism of the late 1960s when they decided to conduct an experiment: to harness the burgeoning power of television and create an educational, impactful, uplifting and entertaining show that could reach children nationwide, especially those living in urban areas. Cooney recruited trailblazing Muppets creator Jim Henson and acclaimed children’s television writer and director Jon Stone to craft the iconic and beloved world of Sesame Street.

Street Gang is presented by Screen Media and HBO Documentary Films. It is a Macrocosm Entertainment production in association with the Exchange, Bondit Media Capital and Citizen Skull Productions. Marilyn Agrelo directs while Trevor Crafts and Ellen Scherer Crafts produce alongside Lisa Diamond. Executive producers are Brian O’Shea, Nat McCormick, Matthew Helderman, Luke Taylor, Mark Myers, Heather Kenyon. Co-executive producer is Michael Davis and editor is Ben Gold.

The deal was negotiated by Seth Needle, SVP of Global Acquisitions and Co-Productions, for Screen Media with Brian O’Shea, CEO at The Exchange on behalf of the filmmakers. The Exchange is handling foreign sales for the film and financing was provided by Bondit Media Capital LLC.

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