Aaron Biebert is the director and visionary behind A Billion Lives, a unique documentary film that will expose the corruption behind the suppression of the vape industry. This mission has taken Aaron and his team across four continents in search of a truth they are passionate about sharing with the world. We talked to Aaron about his journey to this point, the creative process and how he became such a supporter of our cause, although he does not personally vape.
THE JOURNEY: In her new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert writes “Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” It’s clear this film is a passion project for you; how did the idea first come to you and why is this a story you are so passionate about sharing?
A: I was first told about vaping from my friend Heidi. At first I was a skeptic, just like most of the public that’s been lied to. I thought it was anti-freeze and full of formaldehyde.
Obviously once I was shown the truth, I was upset. I felt like an idiot. When one of my friends suggested I make a film about it, I realized I could make a difference and decided to do everything in my power to expose the truth.
VAPEFAM?: How have you been received by the vape community? What is your impression of this community, which has been largely pigeonholed? Although you don’t vape, has this project helped you relate to vapers and the passion they have for this cause?
A: The vape community was very skeptical at first, and many people still are. It makes sense to me because there were several films that took crowdfunding, but never actually made a film.
However, I have met many vapers around the world while filming and they are some of the nicest people. It’s a great community and I feel honored that some have adopted us into their family.
I can definitely relate to their passion. I feel the same way about our food system and medicine. We are being lied to about those as well, even though good food and good medicine can save lives. I would do anything to save the lives of my loved ones. Most pro-vaping folks are doing the same thing.
PLAYING FAVORITES: What has been the highlight of making this film for you? Is there a specific person you met, place you visited or event in which you partook that really elicited a feeling of “this is it!” in you?
A: Interviewing Hon Lik, the inventor of the modern e-cigarette, was a special moment. He struggled greatly to quit smoking and it was inspiring to hear how he decided to do something about it. His invention could save so many lives.
A: Initially, we approached this project as more of a business decision. Vaping is a hot topic. We could help people. It seemed like a win-win situation.
As we started to learn of all the corruption and hear the voices that were being hurt, it quickly became much more personal. At one point, a member of our crew was crying after an interview.
I put myself in the shoes of smokers desperately trying to quit and I get angry.
A: We began researching the topic late last year and began filming this past spring. In just six short months we were able to get 90% of the footage we needed. It was a very busy time.
As an artist myself, I get inspired by the amazing craft I see displayed in some of the devices and liquids. People who were working minimum wage in their previous jobs are now making a successful career out of making art. It’s wonderful.
ADVOCACY: Though this film’s mission is explicitly to expose the truth about the vaping industry, it will undoubtedly serve our cause. Through your research and experience, which other forces would you say are helping this industry move forward in the face of very real and very big threats?
A: I don’t see many forces helping the industry move forward. The only force to be reckoned with is the vape community itself. The undying passion of vapers and their resolve to keep fighting is the one thing that I’d be worried about if I was a pro-smoking leader.
Never underestimate a person who’s protecting their loved ones, caring for their children.
NEW HORIZONS: The film is set to release in early 2016 and though we’ve never made a film, we’re sure you will be very busy all the way through completion, and even post-release. Still, have you thought at all about your next steps creatively?
A: Yes, there is another film in the works. We’ve discovered too much for just one film, so our new project will focus on some of the deeper issues we’re finding. I’m also looking at writing a book about all of this. Stay tuned!
Thank you so much for sharing with us!
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The Inspiration Series:
- Inspiration Series, Part I – MARIA
- Inspiration Series, Part II – WORLDWIDE VAPERS
- Inspiration Series, Part III – RELIK TRIBE
- Inspiration Series, Part IV – BMI ROSE
- Inspiration Series, Part V – DREW
- Inspiration Series, Part VI – AARON BIEBERT
- Inspiration Series, Part VII – AMY JEANETTE
- Inspiration Series, Part VIII – DANIEL WALSH
- Inspiration Series, Part IX – SABRINA
- Inspiration Series Continued HERE