We were NOT 6 feet apart then!

I left Hollywood, California, very early on the morning of March 25, 1970, boarding a non-stop flight to JFK. One of many million long-haired hippies inhabiting the US of A at that time, I had a precious cargo with me. Very bulky and heavy, my freight was evenly divided between two big trunks on wheels. Somehow, days earlier on the phone, I had firmly convinced the airline staff that this cargo was so valuable, it could not, nor should not, be stored in the hold with the rest of the baggage. I was transporting a unique saga of the 1960s with me. As one of two producers (the Associate Producer) of the movie Woodstock, one of my last obligations was to get the finished films to the two movie theaters in New York City for the opening press and audience screening on the afternoon of March 26, 1970. We had manufactured eight prints: 2 for Los Angeles, 1 each for Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Toronto, and my two for NYC.

I landed on schedule, found a taxi with a large enough truck to carry the two trunks, and we made our way to mid-town Manhattan. Crowds were already gathering outside the Trans-Lux West on Broadway where I unloaded one trunk. A Warners PR person was on hand to take the second to the Trans-Lux East. Hundreds of people were lining up in the streets. “You’ve got the actual movie there in those cans?” I was asked as I pushed my way. Yes, I said to myself nervously. I could almost hear the soundtrack reverberating among the crowds. Richie and Jimi, Country Joe and the Fish, Joan Baez and John Sebastian. Arlo, Ten Years After, Sly and the Family Stone. And Joe Cocker, The Who, Carlos Santana with Mike Shrieve the drummer, and Sha-Na-Na, the 1950s dance troupe. And, of course, Max Yasgur, the Port-O-San Man, and Wavy Gravy.

Their voices could soon be heard in Manhattan, surrounded by the hundreds of thousands of young people who had gathered for peace, love, and music in one of the most spontaneous happenings the world has ever known. Their story was three hours and four minutes long. Their stories live a lifetime, even today and tomorrow. They made history, protesting the Vietnam War, struggling in the civil rights streets, where women’s rights and gay rights and human rights clashed like musical chords in the night. Voices, words, and music created a harmonious community that still bonds. We who had made the film—on Max’s farm for 6 days, in the editing rooms for eight months, moving everything four times before we were finally finished on the Warners lot, knew every frame, every sequence, every sound, every stitch of music, dozens of times over. They were our family, and our own production and editing family had extended from nearby Zabar’s Deli on upper Broadway to Hollywood, then to Burbank where the Warners lot was empty. And what a family we were. Almost one hundred people on both coasts had helped us to make this film. And here was our movie, in a trunk, on its way to the projection booth, eager to get out and show off. No one was 6 feet apart!!!

Michael Wadleigh (Director), Bob Maurice (Producer) and Dale Bell at Woodstock

The movie would restore Warner Brothers, become the most profitable film of 1970, yield the highest grosses ever made for a documentary, win the Best Feature Documentary Academy Award in 1971, and bring a nomination for Best Editing to Thelma Schoonmaker, and Best Sound to Dan Wallin and L.A. Johnson, while receiving standing ovations around the world. No critic could ignore it. Nor could the millions globally who became and have remained devoted fans because of its music, its humanity, its technology, its universal scope, and it’s many voices. Woodstock the movie matters—then, now, and for our futures. Leverage it. We meant it.

DALE BELL, Associate Producer, Woodstock the Movie


Michael Wadleigh (Director), Bob Maurice (Producer) and Dale Bell at Woodstock / Photo by Henry Diltz – August 9, 1969


The WOODSTOCK 50thanniversary festival is no more. Long live the original! Thankfully, the WOODSTOCK movie, winner of the Academy Award in 1971 for Best Documentary, endures, and remains provocative 50 years after we began filming, against all odds, on August 10, 1969. Though some 500,000 people attended the festival between August 15-17, only several thousand remained on the muddy field to hear the Call to Action unleashed by Jimi Hendrix at 9AM on Monday morning, August 18, 1969.

On this Thursday, August 15, 2019, in 600 theaters across the country, for one night only, the WOODSTOCK DIRECTOR’s CUTwill be screened for tens of thousands of people, young and old. What we as filmmakers did then, on those muddy fields filled with R.E.S.P.E.C.T., integrity, and communitarianism, lives on eternally as a once-in-a-lifetime-experience, historic in its reverberation.

Dale Bell holding his new book

Very near the end of the movie, Jimi Hendrix, dressed in white fringe, stands alone with a pick-up band, searching for meaning from the almost empty fields, the barren stage, the cast-off remains of the most spontaneous gathering of humankind ever recorded. But when he does find his groove, nothing can prevent his “Call to Action” mingled with “Taps” from being embedded in the hard drive of our nation’s consciousness, capturing screams from the original sin of slavery in 1619 to the assassination of HOPE, symbolized by President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy, and beyond, to this day. This is no idle 4-minute rift piercing our soul. The end of an era, it haunts us today.

Woodstock: An Inside Look at the Movie that Shook Up the World and Defined a Generation

Alas, Jimi Hendrix would not live long enough to know that his wailing plea would reach millions of people around the world, in the movie and on recordings. Still, what gauntlet is he throwing out to our generation? Whyand Howdoes Hendrix matter? What can we do? Perhaps at no other time in our society is his searing call to action more urgent than it is now as we navigate our futures in this society.

First, we can all set our alarms for 9AM this Sunday August 18 to remember, for the 3 minutes 46 seconds it takes Jimi to pierce us with his brilliant majesty, how he speaks to and begs each of us. He spoke 50 years earlier. He echoes today. He matters. New dawns await us, if and whenweact.

Woodstock: Interviews and Recollections

Second,we can engage locally with our community, as A. J. Ali—who heard Jimi Hendrix’s call years ago—would have us do. On September 17, in all 50 states, beginning at 6PM Eastern and 3PM Pacific, for a 3-hour event, A.J. Ali has inaugurated The National Day of Reconciliation, patterned after a similar event in South Africa, to foster reconciliation and national unity for our country, particularly to improve relations between police and people of color. L.O.V.E. is the answer, just as R.E.S.P.E.C.T.,sung by Aretha Franklin, is for those of us who made the WOODSTOCKmovie. A.J. Ali has organized law enforcement agencies, schools, colleges, ministries, community centers, theaters, libraries and other locations. By remembering Hendrix’s Call, we can bring this country of ours closer together. Our time is now. Go to, share and join: http://loveistheanswermovement.com/national-day-of-reconciliation/

Dale Bell, a producer of WOODSTOCK; author of two new books about the making of the movie. dale@mediapolicycenter.org. Media Policy Center, 2932 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403.

Happy MLK Day

Happy MLK Day!Martin Luther King was a champion of economic justice and repeatedly spoke about the disparities in American society.

In 1967, Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) started planning a demonstration that would bring thousands of working poor to the National Mall in Washington D.C. They called it the “Poor People’s Campaign,” and with it they hoped to highlight the economic disparities in American society. De-segregation was only the first step on the road to justice, but King and the SCLC knew that with racial justice must come economic justice. He told a crowd in 1967, “I think it is absolutely necessary now to deal massively and militantly with the economic problem … This is why in SCLC we came up with the idea of going to Washington, the seat of government, to dramatize the gulf between promise and fulfillment, to call attention to the gap between the dream and the realities, to make the invisible visible.”

On March 18, 1968, just days before his murder Dr. King spoke to a crowd of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. “What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?” he asked. “What does it profit one to be able to attend an integrated school when he doesn’t earn enough money to buy his children school clothes? So, we assemble here tonight… to say, ‘We are tired. We are tired of being at the bottom. We are tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression. We are tired of our children having to attend overcrowded, inferior, qualityless schools. We are tired of having to live in dilapidated, substandard housing conditions where we don’t have wall to wall carpet, but so often end up with wall to wall rats and roaches. We are tired…smothering in an air-tight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society.”

King wouldn’t live to see the Poor People’s Campaign come to fruition. Despite King’s murder, the SCLC, now headed by Ralph Abernathy, went ahead with the campaign. On Mother’s Day, 1968, thousands of women led by Coretta Scott King came to Washington D.C., demanding economic justice. Protesters erected tents and shacks on the National Mall calling the encampment Resurrection City. Through rain and mud, they made daily trips to the headquarters of national agencies to make their demands. On June 6th, 1968, Robert Kennedy, then a senator from New York and supporter of the campaign, was assassinated in Los Angeles. His funeral procession passed through Resurrection City. Protesters continued to camp out on the Mall until June 24, when the Department of the Interior forced the camp to close because their permit to use the park had expired.

King’s calls for economic equality are best explained in his book “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? “, the last book he would write before his murder. In it, and in a speech of the same name he gave to the annual SCLC conference in Atlanta, he spoke about his vision of economic justice.

“I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? ” that we must honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society.

“There are forty million poor people here, and one day we must ask the question, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth.

“When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life’s marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised.

“And you see, my friends, when you deal with this you begin to ask the question, “Who owns the oil?” You begin to ask the question, “Who owns the iron ore?” You begin to ask the question, “Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that’s two-thirds water?” These are words that must be said.

“Now, don’t think you have me in a bind today. I’m not talking about communism. What I’m talking about is far beyond communism. …Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social.

“And the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism, but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. Now, when I say questioning the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.

“What I’m saying today is that we must go from this convention and say, “America, you must be born again!”

“And so, I conclude by saying today that we have a task, and let us go out with a divine dissatisfaction.

“Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds.

“Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice.

“Let us be dissatisfied until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security.

“Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history, and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home.

“Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.

“Let us be dissatisfied until integration is not seen as a problem but as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity.

“Let us be dissatisfied until men and women, however black they may be, will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not on the basis of the color of their skin. Let us be dissatisfied.”

Happy Martin Luther King Day.


Dear MPC Supporter,
We want to say thank-you to all of you who have so generously supported The Media Policy Center this year. We continue to be dedicated to producing media that can facilitate innovative and positive social change. It goes without saying, that we could not do our work to bring our broadcasts to the public without your help.
2018 has been a productive and rewarding year. Currently, MPC has two documentaries airing on public television stations across the country, with a new 4-part series, “Our Kids,” hosted by Dr. Robert D Putnam due to premiere in April 2019. It is about narrowing the opportunity gap to create greater opportunities for all of our nation’s children.
This year, we completed production on our 4-part series “Our Kids” on narrowing the opportunity gap, hosted by renowned Harvard professor, Dr. Robert D Putnam, author of the best-selling book by the same title.
We traveled to eight cities where we explored the issues and most importantly, solutions. We met extraordinary people of all ages doing innovative work to narrow the opportunity gap between rich and poor—programs that can be replicated in your own communities—that can change the trajectory of children’s lives.
We are now finishing the editing phase, and look forward to bringing the series to public television stations beginning in April 2019. We have already begun outreach and have much planned for 2019: coalition partnerships, project website, local forums, private screenings, educational distribution and more.
“In a time when our country seems to be moving towards more ideological extremes, work such as “Our Kids” is incredibly important; it shines light on examples in the country where the social fabric is diverse and strong in the area that our future most depends – the growth and development of our children.” Todd Dickson, CEO, Valor Collegiate Academies, Nashville, TN
The 3-part series “Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic” narrated by award-winning actor, Ed Harris. Unlike other films, we don’t just talk about the problem. We focus on solutions.
“In a clear and engaging way, this passionate and disturbing film traces the origin of the worst man-made epidemic in history. By learning how it happened we are left better equipped to respond and better equipped to prevent future disasters. Do No Harm should be required viewing for anyone interested in tackling the opioid addiction epidemic.”
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Co-Director of Opioid Policy and Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University and Executive Director of PROP, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.
“BACKFIRED: When VW Lied to America”, profiles the “exclusive” inside story into the largest auto fraud in the world and how California led the way to exposing the evidence.
“Dale, just finished watching this. You’ve done an amazing job. None of the other reports I’ve seen including my own put the Volkswagen scandal into the context of the whole clean air movement. There is a lot of fascinating detail and I learned a lot.  Thanks, and again congratulations on the great work especially considering you didn’t have a deep-pocketed backer like Netflix.”
Jack Ewing of the New York Times, whose stories from Frankfurt, from September 2015, have chronicled the VW Monkey Business, and who has written the book “Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal”, soon to become a feature film under Leonardo DiCaprio.
As the end of the year approaches, please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Media Policy Center that will enable us to continue our crucial work. As a non-profit, we depend on you to share our commitment to changing lives through education.
To donate to MPC, click here :
We wish you all wonderful holidays and a Happy New Year! 🎄
Harry Wiland and Dale Bell
Co-Founders and Co-CEOs
Media & Policy Center
Santa Monica, CA 90403


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.

Address: 114B Gayley Center, corner of Gayley and Linbrook.

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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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