Talking About Sex — A Guide for Families

Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. (PPFA) released its first entry into the home video market with its 30-minute Talking About Sex: A Guide for Families. The video is part of a kit that includes an in-depth guidebook for parents and an activity book for young people aged 10-14. 

PPFA provided an extensive syllabus that they wanted covered - and it was up to Buzzco to figure out how to put it all in a half hour, make it funny and keep it within its budget. Produced and directed by Candy Kugel and Vincent Cafarelli for Buzzco Associates, the animated 30-minute piece is designed to act as an icebreaker for discussions between parents and their children about the often confusing topics of sexuality, puberty, and relationships.

Speaking for PPFA, Michael McGee, vice president for education, said, "Families often have difficulty talking about sexuality. Our children are growing up in a world that's very different than the one we grew up in. Now parents need to talk with their kids about HIV and AIDS, about how to think about all the sexy images in the media, and about how to make healthy decisions along the way to adulthood. This kit provides them with a wonderfully entertaining, highly educational resource to make those conversations easier."

Elizabeth Schroeder, project coordinator for PPFA, said, "We have covered an amazing amount of information that families will find helpful. And the kit gives parents lots of opportunities to share their values with their kids. It's great that the video is so entertaining, so comprehensive, and is handled with such taste, honesty, and creativity."

When Planned Parenthood Federation of America sent out a Proposal For Consideration to create a half-hour video for middle schoolers about puberty and sexual health I was all in. It was exactly what I wanted to do– promote sex education with knowledge and choice. 

We got the contract and hired Jim Thurman, our longtime collaborator at the Children’s Television Network, as the writer, and he managed to turn their long curriculum into a comprehensive and funny script. The subjects in the film range from basic anatomy and physical changes in the body during puberty to dealing with one's first romantic relationships, to how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Then we cast the piece with diverse actors, hired Lanny to create the score and musical pieces. I set the design and started the layouts, we hired another layout artist and animators, assistants and inkers and completed the gestation in 9 months!

The video got a great response from librarians across the country and won countless awards for its content and animation prizes, especially the Grand Prize (Cristal) for educational films from the prestigious Annecy International Animation Festival.

It was shown in schools and church groups for years, and when VHS tapes were obsolete in schools, Planned Parenthood asked us to supply them with DVDs as well.  My only regret is that we were unable to convince them to upgrade their final part about birth control and STD's.  When we made this in 1996, AIDS was front and center in concern for teens. In the 21st century we would have liked to include other sexually transmitted diseases, new forms of birth control, problems with social media– sexting and body shaming, transgender issues, etc. But for its time, it did its job!


6/97: Annecy Cristal for Best Educational Film at Annecy International Animation Film Festival
4/97: Direction prize from ASIFA East Festival


Client Production Executives: Michael McGee & Elizabeth Schroeder
Direction:Candy Kugel & Vincent Cafarelli
Animation: Vincent CafarelliVincent Bell & Al Chiarito
Design: Candy Kugel & Vincent Cafarelli
Music/Lyrics/Sound Design: Lanstronuaut and Jnani
Script: Jim Thurman
Camera: George Davis-8th Frame Camera Service
Sound: Pam Bartella


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