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Film screening with Tom Junod: WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR

Friday, May 3
4:15 p.m. Craft talk with Tom Junod, Standish Room, Science Library, University at Albany uptown campus, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany NY 12222 -- See map
7:30 p.m., Film screening and Q&A, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, University at Albany Downtown Campus. See map

Free and open to the public.

Tom Junod
Tom Junod, left, and movie poster for "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Tom Junod will provide commentary and answer questions following a screening of the award-winning 2018 documentary, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR, about the life and legacy of his friend Fred Rogers, the beloved star of MR. ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD.

An ordained Presbyterian minister, Rogers was the creator of MR. ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD as well as the host of all 895 episodes, the composer of its more than 200 songs, and the puppeteer who imagined 14 characters into being.

He  frequently endured ridicule to champion the values of unconditional love and acceptance. Rogers died in 2003 at the age of 74.

Cover of Esquire featuring Tom Junod story on Mr. Rogers
Cover of Esquire featuring Tom Junod story on Mr. Rogers

Junod is the author of a widely-circulated 1998 Esquire profile of Rogers, “Can You Say… Hero?” That piece of journalism provides the basis of a feature film about Rogers, played by Tom Hanks, and his friendship with Junod titled A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD and due for release in November 2019.

In his eulogy for Fred Rogers, Junod wrote:

“... I wrote about Fred for Esquire in 1998. People were always amazed when I said that Fred and I had stayed in touch after my story—that we spoke on the phone a couple of times a year and that Fred had written me well over 100 e-mails—but once you entered into Fred's life, well, there was no doubt that he would enter into yours.

He was not only the kindest man I'd ever met but also one of the most fiercely disciplined, to the degree that he saw nothing but the good in other human beings. When he saw the good in me, he fixed on it, and there was a never a moment in which he didn't try to make me live up to it, by word, or by example, or, most often, by prayer.”

Junod, UAlbany graduate and Senior Writer for ESPN magazine, is the author of some of the most celebrated pieces in American magazine writing, including "The Falling Man," his meditation on AP photographer Richard Drew’s iconic image of a 9/11 victim plunging to his death.  He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award a record ten times, winning twice. Junod previously spoke at the Writers Institute in 2015.

Cosponsored by the University at Albany Foundation and the Student Association.

The event is free and open to the public.