Special Guest Helps Mark 40th Anniversary of Athens Film Festival

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The audience at the Athens International Film Festival received a surprise visit from a very special neighbor Saturday morning before the showing of a series of short films for children.

“The kids were excited,” festival director Ruth Bradley said. “It [was] a total privilege. Having Mr. McFeely come to our festival was pretty special.”

As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations, several film festival staff members arranged for David Newell, better known as the speedy delivery man Mr. McFeely on the iconic public television program Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, to make a surprise appearance at the festival.

“When I walked into that room there was something electric going on, they knew who was McFeely was,” Newell said. “That made me feel good.”

This year’s festival features more than 300 different films ranging from shorts to feature length movies on topics ranging from climate change to a pair of demolition derby drivers trying to reconcile a broken relationship.

The festival runs through April 18 at the Athena on Court Street.