Ebertfest 2019 Day 4 | Our favorite moments

Ebertfest 2019 Day 4 | Our favorite moments

Arts-and-entertainment expert Frank Pieper's take:

My favorite Day 4 moments

— A short film I heard referred to simply as the Empathy Truck video — depicting Chaz Ebert, backed by the image and words of her late husband, talking to Chicago residents about the importance of kindness and empathy in today's world — was shown at least a couple of times during Ebertfest, and I finally caught it before Saturday afternoon's showing of the excellent documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" I was also fortunate enough to meet Mike Crowley, host and producer of "You'll Probably Agree" on YouTube, who did the editing on the video and, as a frequent Ebertfest attendee, had seen every film thus far in this year's fest. His faves? "A Year of the Quiet Sun" and "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" Clearly, the guy's got not only skills, but taste.

— Think Chaz Ebert's response to what was actually a repeat viewing of director Morgan Neville's documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" was overemotional? Not at all. There were plenty of moist eyes in the house, both male and female, when the lights came up afterward. As Neville succinctly put it, "This film ended up being the most personal, the most cathartic, the most emotional experience I've ever had making a film, and it felt like it was my own personal 10 years of therapy rolled up into one film. And it wasn't until I screened this for the first time that I realized other people might feel the same way."

— The best part of the Q&A time after the aforementioned doc? That would be when RogerEbert.com assistant editor Matt Fagerholm produced an heirloom from his own childhood — a copy of a thoughtful, rather lengthy, surprisingly in-depth letter Fred Rogers had written to him as a 5-year-old boy in response to his fan letter. It provided a perfect example of the man's compassion and sensitivity with children as conveyed in the movie. Thanks for sharing, Matt.

— And the coolest thing I learned at that Q&A — and probably all day? Neville related that one of the first cameramen on "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" when it appeared on PBS back in the late 1960s was future horror moviemaker George Romero. In fact, Neville said Romero worked on an episode called "Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy," which the zombie king described as "the scariest film he ever made."

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