LOS ANGELES, Calif. (August 30, 2016) – PBS SoCal and Page 124 Productions, LLC, present Bill W.: The Creative Force Behind Alcoholics Anonymous, a documentary film about William G. Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.). The film traces his beginnings as an alcoholic on the brink of death, through his recovery, and on to his success forging a path of hope for others to follow. Bill W. will premiere on PBS SoCal (KOCE) on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. PT during National Recovery Month. It will air on PBS stations nationwide during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month in October (check local listings). The film will also air on public broadcasting’s WORLD Channel Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
“What really jumped out at us was Bill Wilson’s personal story,” said Kevin Hanlon, the film’s co-producer and director. “He almost died of his own addiction, found sobriety, and then dedicated the rest of his life to helping others recover from the affliction that had nearly killed him. Because of his insistence on his own anonymity, he worked in relative obscurity most of his life yet had an enormous impact on the lives of millions of people.”
The film follows Bill Wilson through his 17 years of devastating alcoholism, the events that led to his sobriety, and the crucial years of A.A.’s founding and growth. While he was a hero within the A.A. community, he also quietly continued to struggle with personal challenges and difficulties long after his founding of A.A. This struggle was made more difficult by the irony that his unwanted status as an icon within A.A. meant he was unable to avail himself of many of the benefits of the very fellowship he had created. The film documents Wilson’s life through photos, archival footage, audio recordings, and interviews with historians, A.A. members, and individuals who knew and worked with him. The film highlights Wilson’s resilience and determination as the driving force that guided A.A. from a small group of men to a worldwide organization with more than 2 million people working towards recovery and redemption. Millions of people across the globe credit him with saving their lives.
Bill W.: The Creative Force Behind Alcoholics Anonymous is co-produced by PBS SoCal and Page 124 Productions, LLC.
- Produced and Directed by Kevin Hanlon and Dan Carracino
- Executive Producer Brenda Brkusic
- Associate Producer Michelle Merker
“One of the hallmarks of PBS is great storytelling,” said Andrew Russell, President and CEO of PBS SoCal. “It’s terrific to work with talented producers like Page 124 Productions to bring stories that are both important and compelling to local and national PBS audiences.”
About Page 124 Productions, LLC
Page 124 Productions is a documentary production company. Kevin Hanlon and Dan Carracino are emerging filmmakers and life-long friends who, after reading Ernest Kurtz’s history of Alcoholics Anonymous, Not-God, became interested in the story of Bill Wilson, the co-founder of A.A. and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century. Both have seen first-hand the devastation of alcoholism and the successes (and failures) of people seeking recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous. Because no feature length documentary had ever been produced about Wilson, who had left explicit written instructions giving up his anonymity upon his death, they decided to make Bill W.: The Creative Force Behind Alcoholics Anonymous.
About PBS SoCal KOCE
PBS SoCal KOCE is the home to PBS for Greater Los Angeles and Southern California, dedicated to fostering a love of learning, culture and community using the power of public media. We deliver the full schedule of high-quality PBS programs, plus content that is for, about and by the people of Southern California. We make our content available for free through three broadcast channels– PBS SoCal/KOCE-HD, PBS SoCal Plus and PBS SoCal World. It is also available anytime, anywhere at pbssocal.org, on our mobile apps, and via connected TV services. And we reach deep into the community through partnerships, events and grassroots outreach, providing early education resources and access to a broad array of arts and culture experiences. PBS SoCal has offices in Century City, Costa Mesa, and Los Angeles. Learn more at pbssocal.org and follow PBS SoCal on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.