Logline: The truth about vaping, government failure, and the battle for a billion lives
Length: 95 minutes
Director: Aaron Biebert
Producer: Jesse Hieb, Jimi Jake Shaw, Jennifer Biebert, Shem Biebert, Aaron Biebert
Director: Making the jump from commercial productions and non-profit brand films, A Billion Lives is Aaron Biebert’s theatrical feature film debut.
Producers: The team of producers have several years of history together at Attention Era Media. Their diverse skill sets allow for a lot of synergy, and also a lot of fun.
Key cast: The Winston Man (David Goerlitz), Dr. Derrick Yach (Former Executive Director at the World Health Organization), Dr. Delon Human (Former President of the World Medical Association), Hon Lik (Inventor of the modern e-cigarette), Aaron Biebert (Journalist and Director).
Looking for: Sales Agents, Buyers, Distributors Film Festival Directors, and Journalists.
Funders: Attention Era Media
Release date: May 11th in New Zealand (World Premiere), June 16th at Global Forum on Nicotine (European Premiere), July 10th in Melbourne (Australian Premiere), TBD in July (North American Premiere).
Where can I watch it? The film has its upcoming Australian Premiere at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival and will be in theaters in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand this summer.
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
When I found out that the UN's World Health Organization projected that a billion people will die this century from smoking, I wanted to learn more about this subject. I used to be one of the misinformed people that thought vapor technology was worse than smoking, and it was shocking to learn how much safer and more effective it has been for millions of people around the world to quit smoking. When I found out that money and corruption were a big part of this deception, I knew we had to make a film about it.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Many of us have felt the grief of losing a loved one to a smoking-related illness. In the coming century, nearly a billion lives will be lost to the deadly trap of cigarettes, despite 70% of smokers wanting to quit.
Right now big companies are using their power to take away information and it's important that we don't let ignorant comments to unintentionally encourage people to keep smoking. With this new technology, we have a chance to save the lives of our loved ones and neighbors, but we need the information.
This film will answer the outstanding questions about vaping once and for all.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
We all should have the right to make healthier choices in our lives and have the correct information to make those decisions. Imagine a world where coffee was banned because it hurt soft-drink sales, or vegetables were discouraged because they hurt pharmaceutical sales. If we don't stick up for the rights of our neighbors to live healthier lives, when it's our turn for our freedoms to be attacked, we'll be all alone.
Also, we can't have trusted organizations making decisions about our health when they are facing significant conflicts of interest. We should be able to trust public health officials without worrying about their past as lobbyists or hedge-fund wives.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
As we began to learn about why a life-saving technology was being demonized, discouraged, and banned all over the world, we started to dig deeper. We added several last minute interviews that really brought the entire picture into focus.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
One member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (Critics' Choice Award voter) called our film "A wake up call". We also had positive responses from national radio shows we were featured on.
Several days after our world premiere in New Zealand, their government announced on TV that they were reconsidering their ban on this successful method of quitting. A couple weeks later, we were invited to screen the film privately for members of US congress and their staffs. It's been amazing.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback is what we always hoped for, but it is still surprising at how fast we're seeing a response once people learn the truth.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I've met so many people that are struggling to quit smoking. They finally found a way to escape and the door is being shut in their face. One out of two of those who keep smoking will die. I hope by having the film on your website, we can raise awareness and save lives.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We'd love to do more film festivals, but we'd also like to bring our film to a broad market to get the message out. Journalists and buyers/distributors/sales agents can be a significant part of that.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
We'd like to remove conflicts of interest from the people and organizations influencing the choices people have with their bodies. There is too much money coming from big businesses to skew research and media in favor of their business plans. That needs to stop right now.
Hopefully our film can help.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Should wealthy multi-national companies be able to use their billions of dollars to hurt a billion people and their families?
Would you like to add anything else?
Based on biased media headlines, I've said things that may have led people to go back to smoking in the past. That will haunt me forever. We need to do more research before making recommendations. Many doctors don't even know that nicotine does not cause cancer and vapor technology is being called one of the greatest health inventions of all time by some of the top doctors in the world.
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela