Mr. Rogers Remains Neighborhood Favourite in Hot Docs Race

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

By Pat Mullen

The rankings don’t lie. Festivalgoers in line-ups and screenings can’t stop singing the praises of Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor?. Doc lovers seem to agree that it’s the film everyone needs right now with its message of compassion and community. Moreover, many doc fans defend it as the most quietly political film of the festival as it asks audiences to reflect on the kind of environment one hopes to create for one’s neighbors. The film holds the top spot in the Hot Docs Audience Award rankings for the second day in a row.

New to the race is the Mexican doc Mamacita, which comes in at #2. Directed by José Pablo Estrada Torrescano, Mamacita is the story of a Mexican matriarch who blows her family history wide open in a surprising documentary by her grandson. Mamacita bumps Transformer down to #3, but the doc about trans bodybuilder Janae Croc still leads the Canadian field with Laila at the Bridge, The Accountant of Auschwitz, and This Mountain Life coming up strong.

Despite a reception that one could only describe as engaged and rapturous, Liz Garbus’s The Fifth Estate, which takes audiences inside the New York Times during the first weeks of Trump’s unfortunate presidency, didn’t crack the top 20, but has additional screenings to catch up.

The Audience Award rankings for May 1 are:

  1. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  2. Mamacita
  3. Transformer
  4. Laila at the Bridge
  5. The Accountant of Auschwitz
  6. The Game Changers
  7. This Mountain Life
  8. The Silence of Others
  9. Letter from Masanjia
  10. Warrior Women
  11. Exit Music
  12. Mr. Fish: Cartooning From the Deep End
  13. Don’t Be Nice
  14. Grit
  15. McQueen
  16. Three Identical Strangers
  17. Andy Irons: Kissed by God
  18. Gurrumul
  19. Mr. SOUL!
  20. United Skates

Hot Docs runs April 26 to May 6. Please visit for more info.

Visit the POV Hot Docs Hub for more coverage from this year’s festival!