The actor and puppeteer behind two iconic "Sesame Street" stars is the subject of a flick that premiered at Toronto's Hot Docs festival on Sunday.

The documentary "I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story" explores the life of the man who brought Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life for more than 45 years.

For the filmmakers, editing archival footage to include in the documentary was "almost like reliving our own childhood," director Dave LaMattina told CTV's Canada AM on Monday morning.

LaMattina said he grew up watching "Sesame Street," describing the trove of old clips he worked with as a treasure.

"(The story) is so compelling because it's so real. The footage shows how sweet and compassionate he is," LaMattina said. "You fall in love with the man."

Spinney, 81, was discovered by Muppets creator Jim Henson while doing a puppet show in 1962. "I didn't realize he was scouting for a show they hadn't started yet," Caroll told Canada AM.

Big Bird was born as a result, and Oscar followed shortly.

The film recounts Spinney's strict upbringing, his discovery, his divorce, a second marriage and the death of Jim Henson.

The documentary is showing again Monday morning, Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., Thursday at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m.