Spirit Awards: Mister Rogers Film 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?' Wins Best Documentary

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Morgan Neville

Director Morgan Neville addressed the Spirit Awards crowd as "neighbors" before celebrating Fred Rogers' "radical kindness."

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? director-producer Morgan Neville accepted the award for best documentary at the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday.

The pic competed against Hale County This Morning, This Evening; Minding the Gap; Of Fathers and Sons; On Her Shoulders; and Shirkers.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which chronicles the life, work and impact of the late TV icon Fred Rogers' social philosophy, has notched a number of wins this awards season but was surprisingly not nominated for the best documentary feature Oscar.

Neville first addressed the crowd with a familiar Rogers greeting: “Hi, neighbors." He then quickly thanked the film's producers, editors, Focus Features and his wife, a children’s librarian. He also took a moment to thank “all the people who have fallen in love with this movie and what it meant.”

Describing his experience working on the project as both meaningful and incredible, Neville praised the work of his subject of his documentary last, drawing on Rogers' philosophies to round out a heartwarming speech. 

“The last thing is Fred Rogers. Fred knew that kindness was something more than something that sounds good on a bumper sticker," the filmmaker said. "Radical kindness is something like oxygen, and we need to have it to survive."