Even secret testing on monkeys! The Media Policy Center announces the premiere of its new film, BACKFIRED: WHEN VW LIED TO AMERICA, that investigates Volkswagen’s premeditated lethal emissions scandal, against the timeline of our nation’s environmental movement.Three years after the largest auto scandal in history was exposed in September 2015, it’s far from over: VW executives get prison time, Europe cannot collect fines as in the U.S. because it is handcuffed by a scarcity of laws, and America faces serious set-backs to our own air-quality regulations. The legacy of California’s half-century of leadership in climate change and global warming legislation is on the line under the Trump regime.
The film, narrated by award-winning journalist, Warren Olney, (whose great grandfather helped John Muir found the Sierra Club) begins its national broadcast on public television stations in mid-September, 2018.
Now, as President Trump tries to repeal or roll back air pollution and climate change legislation, allowing emissions to soar and become more harmful, BACKFIRED gains national urgency. The film traces how graduate students in engineering from West Virginia University were the first to reveal VW’s lies. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) led the fight to prosecute VW, with the DOJ and the EPA. Six-hundred-thousand U.S. consumers, as well as many communities nationwide, benefit from the $26 Billion penalties paid by VW in the U.S.  No fines yet in the rest of the world.
BACKFIRED features key players: Governors Davis, Schwarzenegger and Brown, Mary Nichols (head of CARB), Willie Brown (Former State Assembly Speaker), State Senator Fran Pavley, class-action attorney Elizabeth Cabraser, California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin DeLeon, Martha Arguello (Physicians for Social Responsibility), , Nancy Sutley (former head of CEQ under Obama), Jack Ewing (The New York Times), Astrid Doerner (Handelsblatt), Dan Neil  (The Wall Street Journal), and David Kiley (Forbes). The film was made in Germany, Paris, D.C., NYC, Morgantown, WV, and, of course, California where the CARB team spearheaded the investigation and the settlement.
The film is produced by the Media Policy Center, a 501c3 entity, whose mission is to leverage media for social justice and an engaged citizenry. Harry Wiland is Co-Executive Producer; Wally Baker is additional Executive Producer; Margie Friedman, Producer; Ralph Herman, Editor; Waleska Santiago and Martin Thiel, Associate Producers. Dale Bell is Co-Executive Producer, Director, Writer, and Cinematographer.
To learn more about BACKFIRED and view a promo go to: http://mediapolicycenter.org/backfired
To pre-order a copy of BACKFIRED for private screenings go to:
For more information contact the Media Policy Center:
Kathleen: kathleen@mediapolicycenter.org
Margie: margie@mediapolicycenter.org

Screening of Backfired: When VW Lied to America at UCLA


Dale Bell, Co-CEO/President/Founder of The Media & Policy Center, is teaching a class in CRISIS MANAGEMENT at UCLA Saturday June 9th, at 1:15pm. There will be a screening of his new film: Backfired: When VW Lied to America. Preceding the showing of the film will be a brief talk by Dale Bell. After will be a talk and Q&A.

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Announcing the broadcast of Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic, the 3-part series narrated by actor, Ed Harris, on public television.


Do No Harm exposes how this catastrophic man-made public health crisis began. The series features poignant stories from recovering addicts and families with losses; reveals the insights of leading doctors and law enforcement officers; reports the failure of drug companies to take appropriate responsibility for the crisis; traces what monies legislators have received; and focuses on those who fight back with effective, long-lasting treatment programs.


To find out when Do No Harm is airing in your city, go to:
Don’t see your city listed? Call your local PBS station and request that they air the series.
We appreciate you sharing information about the broadcasts. Our goal is prevention through education.


“Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic rightfully exposes the opioid lie we have been living in America for decades. This film can play a key role in educating communities about why opioid manufacturers should be held accountable for their calculated deception of health professionals and the general public. It’s time for accountability. It’s time for restitution. It’s time to help our communities heal and recover.”
– Greg Williams, the Director of The Anonymous People and Generation Found



The Media Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 2003 by producers/directors Harry Wiland and Dale Bell, whose individual projects have won an Academy Award, five Emmys, a Peabody, two Christopher’s, two Cine Golden Eagles, and four BAFTAs, among numerous other accolades. MPC strives to inform, challenge, and ultimately engage a responsive citizenry and to encourage full and meaningful engagement across the political, social, and economic spectrum.


Help us spread the message far and wide about the opioid crisis and what all of us can do in our own communities to fight it.
MEDIA POLICY CENTER, 2932 Wilshire Blvd #203, Santa Monica, CA 90403 www.mediapolicycenter.org
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Watch it now!

We are pleased to announce our global distribution of Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic through Journeyman Pictures! Please check out their page where you can stream, download, and get a screening license for the film! Also available on Itunes, Amazon instant video, Vimeo On Demand, Google Play, and Journeyman TV#opioidepidemic #donoharm


National Premiere and Benefit Screening for Beit T’Shuvah of “Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic” Documentary Film

Join us for the NATIONAL PREMIERE of Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic, in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 11 at 10:30 AM at the Laemmle Royal. Presented by Media Policy Center. A benefit screening for Beit T’Shuvah, a recovery center featured in the film. Post-screening discussion includes Rabbi Mark Borovitz,#HarrietNadellRossetto and #HarryWiland.
For tickets: https://gathr.us/screening/22617
Further information: mpc@mediapolicycenter.org
Help us spread the word! Share with your family and friends.
#opioidepidemic #opioidawareness #opioidcrisis


Dale Bell visited Hokule’a at her home in Honolulu


Dale Bell and Hokule’a at his home in Santa Monica, California, surrounded by Herb Kane paintings.


I went to Hawai’I in July 1975 to produce a National Geo Special about a boat that had just been launched. It was to sail, a year later, on a voyage to Tahiti, without technical instruments to guide it, in the manner of Polynesian ancestors. Some said it was a scientific experiment: could this replica of an ancient double-hulled voyaging canoe navigate—steer—its way against the wind. Or, as some interpreted, were the thousands of islands scattered across the vast Pacific populated by voyagers in the style of Thor Heyerdahl’s KON-TIKI raft in 1947 that drifted to French Polynesia.

Hokule’a, “Star of Gladness” as she was christened, succeeded far beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations or expectations. But her birth and infancy were deeply troubled. Births are difficult sometimes. This one was extremely hard because, in Rashomon style, everyone who saw her—in paintings or in real life—or who touched her, or sailed upon her, or hoped that she was built for their children and their ancestors—each person expected this humble, proud, nimble, inquisitive, stalwart, powerful vessel to do their bidding and fulfill their dream.

The feature length documentary I made in Hawai’I between 1975 and 1977, with our WQED/Pittsburgh camera crew, captured that very troubled time for a Polynesian culture that had long been suppressed and never talked about publicly. Though Hokule’a began as an “experiment”, she very soon became a cultural icon, a symbol for a past life beaten into submission, a hope for the future of the human species.

When our film was released, and distributed globally, she—Hokule’a—became the major catalyst for cultural change throughout the Pacific. Languages that had been rubbed out returned; dress that had been ridiculed was now on display; dances that had been constricted blossomed; navigators who had been reduced to one grew to a cadre of more than 50 populating other islands; canoe clubs that had been dormant flourished; voyaging canoes that had not plied the Pacific in hundreds of years multiplied logarithmically; children were given Hawaiian cultural immersion lessons; the bombing by the US Navy of ancient Hawaiian cultural sites was terminated; the Hawaiian language was spoken exclusively on the most recent voyages; land that had been annexed or stolen from native peoples was returned, piece by piece; the annexation of Hawaii in the late 1800’s by the United States was being questioned by those who would restore the sovereignty of the original Hawaiian Kingdom. Hokule’a, and the film that captured the human and civil rights issues that clung to her sails, rigging, and hulls, had leveraged major cultural change throughout the Pacific in the past 40-plus years.

Hokule’a in Hawaii


Last Saturday, June 17, 2017, Hokule’a sailed into harbor at Magic Island in Honolulu, surrounded by 6 other large voyaging canoes, more than a hundred smaller paddling canoes and surfboards, in a glimmering diadem, cheered onward by some 50,000 people who came to the water’s edge at daybreak. Hokule’a had returned from a historic three-year circumnavigation of the globe—45,000 miles, 18 nations, 8 UNESCO Marine World Heritage sites, more than 150 ports, more than 250 crew members and navigators, more than 100,000 people touched around the world—all without instruments, in the manner of the ancients. Guided by the stars, waves, currents, and birds, she is a needle creating a lei of peace for all peoples who are concerned about climate change, education, and indigenous peoples. Hokule’a, still proud and humble, at anchor embraced by tens of thousands, tugs at her lines, ready to take her messages to communities around the Hawaiian Islands in the next year before setting out on another major voyage from the past into the future.

I was there last Saturday, a spectator brimming in tears, still a fly on the wall as I had been in 1975-76, cheering that from her troubled birth—a first step in her full life— she had taken these huge voyages for humankind globally. I, too, could not be more proud or humble.


Hi, everyone! It is just so great to have this space where we can share more about what is happening “behind the scenes” on the MPC journey. So please, keep following us on all our social media outlets and our blog to catch up with what we are doing and to keep updated on the status of our projects.

 For those of you that don’t know who we are:

The Media & Pol­icy Cen­ter of California is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit orga­ni­za­tion and media production company dedicated to creating multiplatform media that builds community and addresses issues of social justice founded in 2003 by pro­duc­ers Harry Wiland and Dale Bell, whose indi­vid­ual projects have won an Acad­emy Award, five Emmys, one Peabody, two Christo­phers, two Cine Golden Eagles, among numer­ous other acco­lades. Our media, pro­duced for PBS, net­work tele­vi­sion, cable, cin­e­mas, and the web reflects Harry and Dale’s philosophy:“We formed MPC to apply our tal­ents and expe­ri­ence to issues of social wel­fare, pub­lic pol­icy, edu­ca­tion, the envi­ron­ment, and health care. MPC’s pri­mary goal is to inform, chal­lenge, and ulti­mately engage a respon­sive cit­i­zenry and to encour­age full and mean­ing­ful debate and par­tic­i­pa­tion across the polit­i­cal, social, and eco­nomic spectrum. “

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