Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, from filmmaker Morgan Neville (the Oscar-winning 20 Feet from Stardom) takes an intimate look at America’s favorite neighbor: Fred Rogers. The documentary tells the story of a soft-spoken minister, puppeteer, writer, and producer whose show was beamed daily into homes across America for more than 30 years. In his beloved television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Rogers and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life’s weightiest issues in a simple, direct fashion. There hadn’t been anything like Mr. Rogers on television before, and there hasn’t been since.
Fred Rogers’ career represented a sustained attempt to present a coherent, beneficent view of how television could be used as a positive force in society. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? explores his legacy, focusing on his radically kind ideas. While the nation changed around him, Rogers stood firm in his belief about the importance of protecting childhood. This intimate portrait goes beyond zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.
Since its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2018, the film has received three Documentary Critic’s Choice Awards, including Best Documentary, Best Director and Best Editing, as well as the Audience Award at the IFP Gotham Awards. Neville’s film is also nominated for five Cinema Eye Honors, including Best Documentary, the Producers Guild of America award for Best Documentary Motion Picture, and the Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary.