Win comes just days before the Academy Award nominations are announced
Won't You Be My Neighbor? has added another big honor to its impressive list of awards. The film about the work of children's television host Fred Rogers won the Producers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures at a ceremony in Beverly Hills Saturday night. Producers Morgan Neville, Nicholas Ma and Caryn Capotosto shared the prize (Neville also directed the documentary).
Neighbor has been named best documentary of the year at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards and the Seattle International Film Festival. It has won similar honors from critics groups in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Iowa, Kansas City, St. Louis, New York, Oklahoma, San Francisco and Philadelphia, among others.
How do you measure how much kinder generations of Americans were because they watched Mr. Rogers?
Won't You Be My Neighbor? made $22.8 million during its theatrical run, becoming the most successful biographical documentary of all time. Neville began work on it well before Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy, but the film has resonated in part for the contrast between Rogers and the current president.
"When we started making the film it was before the election, but this has been in the air-- the incivility and the coarsening of our public discourse," Neville told Nonfictionfilm.com. "It's something that I wanted to deal with in the film but I also wanted to make a film that people from different backgrounds could respond to... I thought very hard about that, trying to make a film that could speak to people I may not always agree with and see again if we can find this common ground. Can we at least agree on the basic principles of what kind of neighborhood we want to have and how we should treat each other? And I can't find a better advocate for kindness and civility than Fred Rogers."
The PGA Awards win comes as the Academy Award nominations are about to be revealed. Those announcements will be made Tuesday morning (January 22).
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.