Amy Letourneau: Helpers Wanted

Of all the helpers who helped make our documentary, “Mister Rogers & Me,” get made, find its audience, and make its impact, few did so much so quickly and with such potent amplification as PBS Distribution’s, Amy Letourneau.

Amy and I met at the South By Southwest Film Festival in 2011. Within days, she’d connected us to American Public Television for our eventual broadcast deal, and signed us to our PBS Distribution deal.

The following March 20th, on Fred Rogers’ birthday, our little film – which had languished after its initial run of two dozen or so festival and benefit screenings – was suddenly everywhere.

Including the Arts & Leisure section of the Sunday New York Times, whose description of the film as “interviews with former colleagues, acquaintances, neighbors and friends” would later inspire the name of this very podcast.

In the ten years since Amy helped bring the film to a national audience, our nation’s changed.

We seem more divided and less certain of any collective truths than ever. The pandemic has left millions dead, billions anxious, and a generation hopeless.

So maybe there’s no better time than now to remember when he told us, to “look for the helpers.”

Throughout the month of March, we’re going to reconnect with friends and neighbors like Amy who made our documentary possible.

I’ll be getting together with “Neighborhood Archive” Creator Tim Lybarger, authors Amy Hollingsworth & Tim Madigan, and one-time “Mister Rogers & Me” researcher turned Sesame Street Puppeteer, Kathy Kim.

And next week, I’m sitting down with Wagner Bros. #1, Christofer Wagner.

Because, as Fred Rogers reminds us, “If you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope.”

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