Master Class: Inspiring the Global Child

Approx. Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes

TIFF Kids - Industry Programming

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This session offers industry participants an in-depth look at the making of this beloved children's show that has inspired and educated generations of children in North America and around the world. Guest speakers will provide insight on children's content development for global and multicultural audiences; character development; international production models; and innovations in digital content production for children.
Speakers will to include: Sonia Manzano - Emmy award-winning actress and writer (plays "Maria" on Sesame Street) Joey Mazzarino - Head Writer, Director, Muppet Performer Nadine Zylstra - Supervising Producer Autumn Zitani - Researcher

Guest Biographies

    • Joseph Mazzarino
    • Joseph Mazzarino is the Head Writer for Sesame Street, where his responsibilities include generating storylines for episodes, revising and editing scripts and developing new formats. Mazzarino has been performing and writing for Sesame Street since 1990, and has won multiple Emmy Awards for his work on the show, including Outstanding Writing, Directing and Performer in a Children's Series, as well as a 2009 Writer's Guild Award for Children's Episodic & Specials for Elmo's Christmas Countdown. His screenplay credits include Muppets from Space (99) and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (99), and he wrote and performed in the first ever Henson direct-to-video feature, Kermit's Swamp Years (02). Mazzarino's other writing credits include the preschool series Bear in the Big Blue House and the non-Muppet series Sheep in the Big City.
    • Sonia Manzano
    • Sonia Manzano joined the cast of Sesame Street as "Maria" in 1971, since which she has received two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series and fifteen Emmy Award wins as part of the Sesame Street writing staff. Manzano has also performed on the New York stage, starring in the original off-Broadway production of Godspell and such critically acclaimed productions as The Vagina Monologues, The Exonerated and Love, Loss and What I Wore. She has written for the Peabody Award-winning children's series Little Bill, and has written a parenting column for the Sesame Street parents website, "Talking Out Loud." Her children's book No Dogs Allowed, published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing in 2004, has been turned into a children's musical, with a production at the Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables, Florida, and the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City. Her second book, A Box Full of Kittens, was published in 2007, and Scholastic published Manzano's first young adult novel, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, in the fall of 2012.
    • Nadine Zylstra
    • Nadine Zylstra is Vice President of Sesame Street Production and Programming and Supervising Producer for Sesame Workshop. Prior to Sesame Street, Zylstra worked as a producer, director and writer in South Africa, and joined the Sesame Street family as a director on the South African version of the show. After moving to the US, Zylstra joined Sesame Workshop as the Executive Producer for the Sesame Street productions in Bangladesh and India. Before taking up her position as Supervising Producer, Zylstra led the Digital Media Programming team. In this role, she provided the strategic vision to deliver content to all Sesame Street audiences (including children and their caregivers, teachers, fans, funders, and business partners) via direct digital distribution.
    • Autumn Zitani
    • Autumn Zitani is the Director of Content in Sesame Workshop's Education and Research Department. Autumn has been with Sesame Workshop for 10 years and is responsible for the development and implementation of Sesame Street's child curriculum. In her role, she reviews, creates, and integrates educational and developmentally appropriate content across Sesame Workshop's media platforms, such as television, digital media, outreach and licensed products. She received her Master's Degree in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University.
    • Andria Case
    • Andria Case joined the CTV News family in 1997 as a general assignment reporter, and today she continues to report from the streets of Toronto and from the weekend anchor desk with co-anchor Colin D'Mello. As CTV Toronto's go-to Arts and Entertainment Reporter, Case has covered red-carpet events across the city, from TIFF to the JUNOs, and has interviewed top celebrities including Oprah, Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Prior to her work with CTV, Case got her start in news working as a reporter and ENG camera operator for CHWI-TV News in Windsor, ON, and later as a writer and reporter for CFPL-TV in London, ON, where she would produce and host the lifestyle program One O'clock Live.