With his gentle voice and heartfelt words of wisdom, Fred Rogers served as a compassionate surrogate father for generations of American children who tuned in to public television. He believed in love as the essential ingredient in life and was able to assist kids through difficult situations armed merely with handmade puppets suggesting tolerance and acceptance. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Mr. Rogers made speaking directly and openly to children his life’s work, both on and off his long-running show. He was at the forefront of a movement devoted to meeting the specific needs of children and was considered a radical back then for saying, “I like you just the way you are.”
Animated sequences are peppered between archival footage of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and interviews with Fred Rogers’s family, friends, and colleagues. Examining Rogers’s legacy, Academy Award–winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) offers a deliberate and beautiful tribute to an authentic human being and provides a much-needed salve for these often-fraught times.
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Morgan Neville is an Academy Award–winning, Grammy-winning, and Emmy-winning filmmaker who concentrates on stories of culture. His films include 20 Feet from Stardom, Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal, The Music of Strangers, Keith Richards: Under the Influence, and The Cool School. He also executive produced the TV series Chelsea Does and Abstract: The Art of Design.