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From AFI’s current schedule, ‘Mr. Rogers’ may be the sentimental favorite

  • Published in Film

Fred Rogers with “Neighborhood” friend King Friday from the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” about his long-running PBS children’s television show. COURTESY PHOTOFred Rogers with “Neighborhood” friend King Friday from the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” about his long-running PBS children’s television show. COURTESY PHOTO  AFI Silver features multiple offerings, but Todd Hitchcock, Director of Programming, expects that one film will resonate the most emotionally currently.

That would be “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” that reviewers are describing as an affectionate but incisive look at Fred Rogers. From 1968 to 2001, he hosted “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” one of the longest-running and fondly-remembered children’s television shows.

The documentary by Morgan Neville, an Academy Award winner (for another film), focuses on how the cardigan-clad Rogers, a trained minister, was both radical and gentle.

“People got snifffly even during the trailer,” said Hitchcock, who grew up watching the program as well as “Sesame Street.”

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Documentaries shine in AFI DOCS Festival

Programming staff, front-line screeners and members of a screening committee spent the better part of this year winnowing down documentary films to include in the American Film Institute’s 15th annual AFI DOCS Festival, which took place at the AFI Silver in downtown Silver Spring, as well as Landmark’s E Street Cinema and the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a very long process,” said Michael Lumpkin, director of the festival. “Over 2000 films were submitted this year, of which we chose 103.”

“The films come from 28 countries. All have not yet been released and not yet been shown in movie theaters, online, or on television,” Lumpkin said.

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