Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street and decades of award-winning educational programming, today announced its first documentary series Through Our Eyes, set to debut on Thursday, July 22 on HBO Max.
Through Our Eyes spotlights the perspectives of children as they experience some of the most challenging issues facing families today – homelessness, parental incarceration, military caregiving, and climate displacement – in four 30-minute films designed for adults and as a co-viewing experience for kids ages 9 and older. The series is produced by Sesame Workshop, with each episode directed by award-winning and -nominated filmmakers, several of whom have previously explored these topics through their cinematic work.
“Sesame Workshop has always worked to understand the most crucial needs of children and families, creating content that helps equip, inspire and build resilience to better prepare them for life,” said Kay Wilson Stallings, Sesame Workshop’s Executive Vice President of Creative & Production. “With Through Our Eyes, we bring viewers into our process of understanding the unique and immense challenges faced by children today. Our hope is to build empathy for families in crisis and remind those who are also enduring difficulty that they are never alone.”
This four-part series includes:
101: Through Our Eyes: APART
One in 14 American children will experience the incarceration of a parent, and 2.7 million children have a parent in prison right now. This introspective portrait of loss intertwined with moments of joy reminds us of the forgotten consequences of the criminal justice system – the families of those left behind. APART shares the experiences of three resilient children navigating the complex emotional challenges of their parents’ incarceration as their families work to provide stability and support.
Directed by Primetime Emmy award-winners Geeta Gandbhir (I Am Evidence, Call Center Blues) and Rudy Valdez (The Sentence)
102: Through Our Eyes: UPROOTED
Since 2016, millions of people in the United States have been displaced by weather-related disasters that are occurring more frequently and with greater intensity. In UPROOTED, two children in Iowa face the loss of their family farm due to climate change, while a third in Texas waits for her hurricane-damaged home to be rebuilt.
Directed by News and Documentary Emmy Award nominee Talleah Bridges McMahon (Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise, My Name is Pauli Murray)
103: Through Our Eyes: HOMEFRONT
There are currently 1.9 million servicemembers and veterans relying on caregiver support in the United States, and 3.4 million children live in the homes of these caregivers. In HOMEFRONT, three children of veteran families cope with the emotional impact of having a wounded parent, navigate the unique challenges of visible and invisible injuries sustained during military service, and together journey toward collective healing.
Directed by News and Documentary Emmy Award winner Kristi Jacobson (A Place at the Table, Solitary)
104: Through Our Eyes: SHELTER
America’s homelessness crisis can feel distant and bureaucratic until you see it through the eyes of a child. SHELTER follows three unhoused children and their parents in Los Angeles as they navigate housing insecurity. While each family’s circumstances are different and their futures uncertain, they are bound by love and a common determination to keep their dreams alive.
Directed by Academy Award nominee Smriti Mundhra (St. Louis Superman, A Suitable Girl)
This month, Through Our Eyes: APART will world premiere at the Provincetown Film Festival and Through Our Eyes: SHELTER will world premiere at AFI Docs.
Through Our Eyes is the latest series in Sesame Workshop’s burgeoning slate of shows, including its flagship program Sesame Street and spinoffs The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo and forthcoming CGI-animated Mecha Builders; Esme & Roy; Ghostwriter; Helpsters; and Bea’s Block, as well as year-round Sesame Street and Sesame Studios digital shorts, stories, and songs. The nonprofit additionally creates Sesame Street in Communities content addressing the complex challenges presented in Through Our Eyes and others faced by children and families today. Sesame Workshop developed its Caring for Each Other resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Coming Together work in commitment to racial justice, also partnering with CNN to create five Town Hall programs that helped kids understand and families discuss these issues.