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Movies/TV

Mister Rogers documentary 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?' set for June release

Mary Pickels
| Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, 11:00 a.m.
Fred Rogers invitation to young viewers of his long-running 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' show to be his neighbor will be honored April 21 with the fifth annual 'Be My Neighbor Day,' encouraging volunteers to help out in their neighborhoods.
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Fred Rogers invitation to young viewers of his long-running 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' show to be his neighbor will be honored April 21 with the fifth annual 'Be My Neighbor Day,' encouraging volunteers to help out in their neighborhoods.

Focus Features has acquired the worldwide rights to "Won't You Be My Neighbor," a documentary about the life and work of Fred Rogers set for release on June 8.

Rogers, a Latrobe native, died in 2003.

His beloved television show, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," was filmed in the WQED-TV's Oakland studios for several decades and broadcast to generations of children on many PBS stations.

"Won't You Be My Neighbor?" — named after Rogers' signature phrase — is described as "an emotional and moving film" that takes viewers beyond the familiar images of "zip-up cardigans and the land of make believe."

The new documentary is a production of Tremolo Productions in association with Impact Partners and Independent Lens / PBS.

"The Fred Rogers I discovered making this film is at once comfortably familiar and completely surprising. I believe Mister Rogers is the kind of voice we need to hear right now," says Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville in the release. Neville won the Academy Award for documentary feature for the 2013 film "20 Feet from Stardom."

"Morgan once again avoids making a traditional biodoc and instead takes us behind the curtain to see how Fred Rogers navigated the cultural and social issues of the second half of the 20th century with his own brand of forward-thinking, compassionate wisdom far beyond his time," Focus chairman Peter Kujawski says in a news release.

"His beautiful new film shows us just how cool Mister Rogers was and how relevant and vital his voice is right now," says Lois Vossen, Independent Lens executive producer.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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