Today Adi Shankar’s Bootleg Universe is releasing its latest entry: Mr. Rogers: A War Hero. If Fred Rogers were alive today, the host of the beloved TV Show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood would be celebrating his 90th birthday. This tribute to Mr. Rogers is based on the persistent urban legend that he served in the military as a sniper and decorated war hero prior to hosting his popular children’s TV show.
Mr. Rogers: A War Hero is produced by Adi Shankar (Netflix’s Castlevania showrunner) and written, produced and directed by Kenlon Clark, the grand prize-winning screenwriter of the inaugural ScreenCraft Bootleg Universe Screenplay Competition.
Inspired by the works of street artist Banksy, Adi Shankar’s Bootleg Universe is a subversive anthology series that reimagines pop culture properties. The Bootleg Universe has been the subject of press coverage, legal orders from studios, and debate about US Copyright law and First Amendment constitutional law. His films have been taken down at the request of intellectual property rights holders of both Power Rangers and James Bond, only to have the videos reinstated by YouTube.
“When I was young my heroes had magazords, adamantium claws, and vampire-slaying whips. They were spectacular and unlocked my imagination. But after the events of the past few years my heroes have changed, and now anyone who does anything to enrich a child’s life is a hero to me. This short film entry is a love letter to a man who showed my generation how to be good neighbors,” says Bootleg Universe creator Adi Shankar.
Mr. Rogers: A War Hero is already gaining steam and attention, within hours of release. With outlets like Collider, Syfy Wire, IGN, Comicbook.com, Screen Rant, and Icon vs. Icon covering it, we’re looking forward to see just how far this Mr. Rogers short can go. As the late, great, Fred Rogers said, “As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has—or ever will have—something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.”
Watch the full short below.
ScreenCraft’s Bootleg Universe Screenplay Competition was co-presented by Buffalo 8 Productions and BondIt Media Capital, which backed the financing for the production budget for this winning project.
ScreenCraft is a media company dedicated to helping screenwriters and filmmakers master their craft and connecting them with industry executives who need good scripts. Past ScreenCraft winners have optioned their projects and signed with top Hollywood representatives at CAA, United Talent Agency, 3 Arts, Anonymous Content, Paradigm Talent Agency, ICM, Bellevue Productions and more.
Buffalo 8 is a full-service media company focusing on production, post-production, management and financing through sister company BondIt Media Capital. The team has premiered projects at Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, SXSW and Berlin film festivals.
The Bootleg Universe YouTube channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNgSkSyLpwJckPsCcpDc2Ow
Submission and eligibility info regarding the Bootleg Universe Screenplay Competition can be found here: https://screencraft.org/bootleguniverse/