The community is invited to a free screening of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Thursday, Dec. 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the Picker Room of Camden Public Library.

For more than 30 years, Fred Rogers, an unassuming minister, puppeteer, writer and producer, was beamed almost daily into homes across America. In his beloved television program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Rogers and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life’s weightiest issues, in a simple, direct fashion. There hadn’t been anything like Mr. Rogers on television before … and there hasn’t been since.

Although he may be best known today as a soft-spoken, cardigan-wearing children’s television host, Rogers’ career represents a sustained attempt to present a coherent, beneficent view about how we should best speak to children about important matters and how television could be used as a positive force in our society.

In “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville — opening night star of this year’s Camden International Film Festival — looks back on Rogers’ legacy, focusing on his radically kind ideas. While the nation changed around him, Rogers stood firm in his beliefs about the importance of protecting childhood. Neville pays tribute to this legacy with the best known in his series of highly engaging, moving documentary portraits of essential American artists.

The documentary is rated PG-13 and runs an hour and 34 minutes.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or