Mister Rogers Documentary ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ Acquired by Focus Features

Focus Features has acquired the worldwide rights to Morgan Neville’s Fred Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

“Won’t you be my neighbor?” was Rogers’ trademark line on “Mister Rogers Neighborhood,” the beloved children’s series that ran nearly four decades from the mid-1960s to 2001. Rogers died in 2003.

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is produced by Neville, Caryn Capotosto and Nicholas Ma and is a production of Tremolo Productions in association with Impact Partners and Independent Lens/PBS. It is set to be released theatrically on June 8. Focus chairman Peter Kujawski made the announcement Monday.

“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,” said Kujawski. “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.”

Neville said, “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.”

Neville won the Academy Award for documentary feature for the 2013 film “20 Feet from Stardom.” The deal was negotiated by Endeavor Content and Judith Karfiol on behalf of the filmmakers.

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