- Travis Lee Ratcliff
JUST THE WAY YOU ARE
These are notes from the making of my short film-criticism documentary: JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. I released this back in 2017 and it had some success online. I received so many kind and wonderful comments from people who found comfort in the images of Rogers and his message of kindness.
I drove up to Dallas a few months ago to take care of my mother while she recovered from a bad case of the flu.
Spending a few weeks quiet weeks in the house I grew up in, I became entranced in the Twitch Mister Rogers marathon.
To my surprise, I kept tuning in to watch episodes of the show.
Something about the quiet, meditative, sincerity was deeply moving to me.
Growing up I had vague memories of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, but watching his program now as an adult and as a filmmaker I was fascinated by the degree of sophistication and discipline Rogers brought to his show.
Learning more about his thinking and his background revealed to me a deeply thoughtful man. A man who had found a way to work completely against the grain of the medium and the culture.
As filmmakers there is something inspiring about such an example. Someone totally uninterested in spectacle or ubiquity. Someone interested in depth, and in forming significant human connections.
I came to see Fred Rogers’ cinema as an act of sincere communication from one individual to another. His neighborhood was a space where silence and kindness are valued, not because they get good ratings, but because they are essential to our experience as human beings.