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New Fred Rogers Documentary To Explore 'The Heart Of A Creative Genius'

Gene J. Puskar
Fred Rogers pauses during a May 27, 1993 taping of his show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" in Pittsburgh.

A Focus Features documentary dubbed “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” about the life and work of Fred Rogers is coming to the the big screen in June, officials announced Monday.

According to a release, the film will examine how Rogers navigated cultural and social issues in a forward-thinking way.

President and CEO of the Fred Rogers Company Paul Siefken said Rogers was a fascinating man on and off screen.

“His wisdom was timeless, and also at the same time, very timely,” he said. “The issues that he focused on were really universal issues that children face, but also we face as human beings as we grow up, and I think that’s key to why he continues to resonate for multiple generations.”

The film’s 2018 release comes at a special time, Siefken said.

“We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” said Siefken, “and we couldn’t be more excited to have his life celebrated on screen in that way.”

The company provided archival footage of the television program and behind the scenes recordings to academy-award winning filmmaker Morgan Neville.

Rogers’ children’s program ran from 1968 to 2001 on PBS. He was born in Latrobe and died in 2003.