Focus Features has acquired the worldwide rights to Won't You Be My Neighbor, the new documentary about the life and work of Mister Fred Rogers. From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), the documentary is a Focus Features presentation of a Tremolo Production, in association with Impact Partners and Independent Lens/PBS. It is set to be released on June 8, 2018. Focus chairman Peter Kujawski made the announcement today, with the following statement.
"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 twentieth century with his own brand of forward-thinking, compassionate wisdom far beyond his time. Mister Rogers makes us all want to be better people, and we couldn't be more proud to be a part of telling his story today."
Won't You Be My Neighbor? takes an intimate look at America's favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this documentary is an emotional and moving film that takes you 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. Here's what director Morgan Neville had to say in his statement.
"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. I am thrilled to work with Focus Features on taking this film out into the world, along with my collaborators at Impact Partners and Independent Lens."
Won't You Be My Neighbor? is produced by Morgan Neville, Caryn Capotosto and Nicholas Ma and is a production of Tremolo Productions in association with Impact Partners and Independent Lens / PBS. The deal was negotiated by Endeavor Content and Judith Karfiol on behalf of the filmmakers. Here's what Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Executive Producer, had to say in her statement.
"This is Morgan's fourth film with Independent Lens, following our Emmy Award-winning collaboration on Best of Enemies. His beautiful new film shows us just how cool Mister Rogers was and how relevant and vital his voice is right now."
Focus Features acquires and produces specialty films for the global market, and holds a library of iconic movies from fearless filmmakers. Current and upcoming domestic releases from Focus include Victoria & Abdul, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench as Queen Victoria; Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill; the untitled Entebbe project, a gripping political thriller directed by José Padilha and starring Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl; Jason Reitman's new comedy Tully, starring Charlize Theron and written by Diablo Cody; Lenny Abrahamson's atmospheric thriller The Little Stranger; Joel Edgerton's coming-of-age and coming-out drama Boy Erased starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe; Mary, Queen of Scots with Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I; On the Basis of Sex, the real-life drama of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg staring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer; and Phantom Thread from Paul Thomas Anderson starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Hopefully we'll have more on this Focus Features documentary soon.