'Backfire' Documentary Focuses Lens On Volkswagen Diesel Scandal

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
8216 backfire documentary focuses lens on volkswagen diesel scandal

Oscar-nominated documentarian and businessman Steve Kalafer is again putting on his producer hat in his latest project, called “Backfire: The Volkswagen Fraud of the Century,” a documentary that aims to find the truth behind the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, reports Automotive News.

And he’s the perfect person to do it: Kalafer is also a Volkswagen dealer.

Kalafer, best known for “Sister Rose’s Passion,” a documentary about a nun’s efforts to fight anti-Semitism in the Catholic Church, and for “The Soprano State: New Jersey’s Culture of Corruption,” which examined corruption and politics in New Jersey, will team up with his son, Jonathan, to make the film.

The film producer owns a 17-franchise group in New Jersey, one of them a Volkswagen store, so the project hits close to home for him. However, he will stay behind the camera as he believes any on-camera involvement on his part will have a negative effect on the film.

“I will not have a point of view,” he said. “The participants will.”

The documentary will focus on other stakeholders, such as customers, dealers, regulators, and even former Volkswagen executives.

To date, Kalafer hasn’t launched a website for the film, and it’s not listed as a current project on IMDB. However, we hope Kalafer is successful his project, if for no other reason than this one line during his interview with AN.

“When I came to Volkswagen [to discuss the film], they said, “Why are you doing this?’ I said, “To tell the truth.'”

Atta boy.

[Image: University of West Virginia]

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19 of 30 comments
  • Rday Rday on Apr 10, 2016

    The germans deserve all the bad press they are getting for their hubris and arrogance for the last several centuries. Pride go-eth before the fall, as i recall hearing years ago.

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    • Darkwing Darkwing on Apr 11, 2016

      @Old Man Pants I prefer to think he's actually taking a stand for Saxon reparations stemming from the Thirty Years' War.

  • Tstag Tstag on Apr 11, 2016

    If VW had put a fuel tank in the wrong location of a car causing death and injury to purchasers of said cars then you could justifiably throw the book at them and go for damages that could close the company down. The fact that GM and Ford both built rubbish cars (the Pinto and the Malibu) that did have the fuel tank in a stupid place should cause people to ask why VW is being treated as harshly as they are relative to the big US car makers. Something about VW being German and Ford/ GM being American may well have something to do with this. If I were VW I'd wind down VW in the US by letting them go under. The total number of cars vs the amount of money they make in the US is not worth it. I'd then buy FCA and make VWs under the Chrysler badge. It would be cheaper and more profitable long term. It would also give VW an American icon which I suspect would make them less vulnerable to attack by protectionists in the US. Ironically I don't thing VW has been treated harshly enough in Europe where they should be compensating every car maker they stole diesel sales off!

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    • Jack Denver Jack Denver on Apr 11, 2016

      I think that you are missing that NoX emissions kill people just the same as exploding airbags or defective gas tanks.

  • Jasper2 Jasper2 on Apr 11, 2016

    Question to all readers: Anybody believe VW will be leaving the U.S. market in 2016-2018?? Specifically, VW will still produce cars in the southern U.S. but sell all VW brand elsewhere?

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    • Raph Raph on Apr 11, 2016

      Naw, VW might loose a few faithful and people who might have been interested in the brand but by and large VW guys are a loyal lot like any brand or model wing nut. When all this first broke in a matter of days my VW buddies started circulating a brand "testimonial" that went something like; "I don't know what they've been saying in the media but this is a pic of my totaled Passat Diesel wagon that survived a direct thermonuclear hit. If I had been in any other brand... blah blitty blah blah blah".

  • Storz Storz on Apr 11, 2016

    Red jacket, blue jacket who gives a $hit just buy em back.

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    • Derekson Derekson on Apr 11, 2016

      @brettc It's just like every other scandal in the automotive industry. Non-enthusiasts get bored after a few weeks of stories and forget about it. This is why Toyota never suffered from the unintended acceleration scandal or Honda from the Takata stuff, etc. I think things were different in the 80s before the 24/7 media blitz when the 60 Minutes segment almost killed Audi in the US.