Filmmaker: Morgan Neville
AFS Film Representative: Nicholas Ma (Producer)
Runtime: 94 min
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. There hadn’t been anything like Mr. Rogers on television before and there hasn’t been since. 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. Neville pays tribute to this legacy with the latest in his series of highly engaging, moving documentary portraits of essential American artists.
About the Representative
Nicholas Ma is a writer, director and producer based in New York City. He received the Independent Spirit Award and Producers Guild Award for WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? a documentary on Fred Rogers, which became the all-time highest grossing bio-documentary. His most recent film SUITE NO. 1, PRELUDE was selected for the Spotlight on Documentary at the New York Film Festival and played at festivals around the country. His most recent feature script, now in development, was awarded the Sloan Prize. He is also currently in development on several other documentary projects around science and diplomacy. Prior to entering the world of film, he began his career McKinsey & Company in New York and Shanghai and led global economic policy for then-Senator John Kerry on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is a graduate of Harvard College.