For decades, Caroll Spinney has been the man behind two of Sesame Street's icons  Big Bird and Oscar  but the veteran puppeteer takes the limelight himself in the new documentary I Am Big Bird.

For I Am Big Bird, one of the highlight films of the 2014 Hot Docs festival in Toronto, filmmakers Dave LaMattina, Chad Walker and Clay Frost showcase Spinney's compelling stories and delve into a vast trove of archives to paint a warm and dynamic portrait.

In addition to having voiced the friendly yellow giant and his cantankerous, garbage can-dwelling neighbour since 1969, the 80-year-old Spinney helped create their personas.

In the attached video, Spinney tells CBC's Eli Glasner about how Big Bird's voice and personality came about and the joys of playing goofy as well as cranky with his two puppet personas.

Hot Docs continues through May 4.