Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Remember the lessons, ethics, and legacy of iconic children's television host, Fred Rogers.

Fred Rogers
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
February 9, 2019
120 minutes
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2018 International Documentary Association (IDA)-Best Feature
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2019 Independent Spirit Awards-Best Documentary
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2018 Directors Guild of America-Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary
  • Director

    Morgan Neville

    Morgan Neville is an award-winning filmmaker who has spent twenty years working as a cultural documentarian. Neville has been nominated for three Grammys for his music films: Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, Muddy Waters Can't Be Satisfied, and Johnny Cash’s America. His other films include Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues The Cool School and Troubadours Show more (Sundance ’11). Through his company, Tremolo Productions, Neville has also produced films such as The Rolling Stones’ Crossfire Hurricane, Pearl Jam Twenty, The Night James Brown Saved Boston and Beauty is Embarrassing (Independent Lens, 2013). His film 20 Feet From Stardom, which premiered opening night of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and went on to become the top-grossing documentary of the year, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Show less

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    The Film

    For over thirty years, Fred Rogers, an unassuming minister, puppeteer, writer and producer was beamed daily into homes across America. In his beloved television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life’s weightiest issues, in a simple, direct fashion. Though he may be best known today as a soft-spoken, cardigan-wearing children’s television host, in reality, Fred Rogers’ career represents a sustained attempt to present a coherent, beneficent view about how we should best speak to children about important matters and how television could be used as a positive force in our society.

    In Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (Twenty Feet from Stardom) looks back on the legacy of Fred Rogers, focusing on his radically kind ideas. While the nation changed around him, Fred Rogers stood firm in his beliefs about the importance of protecting childhood.