Ciao, Sesame Street

In every neighborhood there’s always an Italian section. This is true even on Sesame Street. Over its 50-year history, many Italian American performers, writers, camera operators, producers and researchers have contributed to Sesame Street’s mission to create television that is not only fun but also educational. Ciao, Sesame Street! features interviewees who discuss their heritage, their history and their involvement in the process of making the longest-running children’s program in American history. The film focuses on three individuals: Frank Biondo, a camera operator who has worked on Sesame Street since day one; Linda Bove, a deaf actress who performed as Linda the Librarian from 1971 to 2002; and Christine Ferraro, a multiple Emmy Award winning writer who has written numerous Sesame Street episodes and specials. Their contributions to the development, writing, and production of Sesame Street have brought the life-changing benefits of early education to generations of kids around the world.

  • John Didato
    Director
    Editor, Sesame Street
  • Frank Campagna
    Producer
    Assistant Director, Sesame Street
  • Frank Biondo
    Key Cast
    Sesame Street
  • Christine Ferrarro
    Key Cast
    Sesame Street
  • Linda Bove
    Key Cast
    Sesame Street
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Family, Documentary
  • Runtime:
    29 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    80,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • 2019 Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum
    Washington DC
    United States
    November 1, 2019
    North American Premiere
    Winning Film
  • 2021 Florida Atlantic University Italian American Film Festival
    Virtual
    United States
    April 14, 2021
    Opened non competitive festival
Director Biography - John Didato

John Peter Didato is an award-winning director, producer and editor.

For over 15 years, John has worked at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. John has edited numerous television shows including Sesame Street, Count TV, 3,2,1 Let’s Go!; as well as, the first Sesame Street podcasts and the internet video Cookie Monster Should Host Saturday Night Live. Prior to joining Sesame Workshop, John produced and directed videos for Pfizer, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, RCA Records and CBS among others.

Ciao, Sesame Street!, his first documentary film was selected as the winner of the 2019 Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum. The award was announced by directors Anthony and Joe Russo during The National Italian American Foundation's 44th Anniversary Gala. Spearheaded by directors Anthony and Joe Russo in conjunction with the Italian Sons and Daughters of America and the National Italian American Foundation, the Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum is an initiative to fund films depicting and exploring the Italian American experience for the benefit of future generations.

John also currently teaches graduate and undergraduate level instruction specializing in film, television & digital video production and post-production at New School University.

His portfolio can be screened at http://johnpeterdidato.com/.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I hope you will enjoy Ciao Sesame Street! as much as I enjoyed capturing these wonderful stories of television history. As Sesame Street celebrated its 50th anniversary in November 2019, the timing of this production will raise the awareness of Italian Americans working towards positive applications of media. While only three of the eight subjects interviewed appear in this short, I am in the process of expanding the film to feature length.