On the 6th of August, 2016, the North American Premier of A Billion Lives was scheduled to start at 8:00 P.M. in front of a SOLD OUT audience. Janice & I arrived at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee around 7:15 and the front doors were PACKED. The undercurrent of the crowd was electric and felt before we hit the door.
With great anticipation, we set foot into the sea of people. I guided my way towards the red carpet – to get a glimpse of who may be on it at the moment and realized almost everyone else was thinking the same thing, so – on our way to the 2nd tier of the beautiful Pabst Theater we went to find our seats.
The electricity of the crowd outside was moving inward and upward in volume. Handshaking – high fives, hugs. Some sitting quietly. I was waiting for the lights to go out. I couldn’t see front rows below well enough to see if Herman Cain or Senator Ron Johnson had indeed come. Fidgety, I got up to grab a coke, checked the time and waited.
Aaron Biebert hit the stage, saying he’d gained about 1,400 friends that night in his hometown of Milwaukee. A bit beyond 8:00 – and the lights dimmed. In watching this film, I was struck with the imagery and tried, very hard, to imagine not knowing a thing. Trying to open my mind as I viewed it from a non-smoker, non-vaper point of view. I didn’t fail miserably, but nonetheless it was a task to try. You know what this movie is ~about~ but you’ll need to see it yourself to know…
If you’re looking for a “review” of the movie, I’ll say this. The flow and narrative of this movie is immaculate. The interviews and points with who is in it is essential – Bill Godshall (Smokefree Pennsylvania). Clive Bates. Dr. Farsalinos. MANY more.
David Goerlitz (The Former Winston Man) hits the screen and is is quite frankly, the thread of this film. It points to the bigger picture of tobacco control, government, public “health” and the corruption far better than I ever could have thought a film could, mightier than any blog I’ve tried to write. There were sharp hisses & boos on occasion as various suspects from the FDA, CDC and more reared their ugly heads on the big screen…
Is that the FIRE alarm? Son OF A…. yes, the fire alarm went off. Aaron grabbed the microphone & said something to the effect of ~ The FDA will stop at nothing to keep the truth from getting out… and with that ~ backed the movie up about five minutes.
Huge people in this film. HUGE points made in this film. The need for the country to see this film – – is nothing less than imperative.
Jan was tired and we slowly made our way down to the lobby – she went to the powder room so I checked the red carpet out – and the backdrop, seeing if anyone was around – I took a couple of photos.
While I was doing that – suddenly David Goerlitz is coming around the corner – right in front of me. An all too brief but enjoyable encounter. I also caught Greg Conley coming out of the theater and got to shake his hand. I missed meeting SO many people I wanted to meet, but time & logistics got in the way. I thankfully got to meet a few others from Twitter & Facebook, but I’ll savor that in my own mind.
Instead of hitting the after-party, we made our way back to the hotel… As I slumped in front of the nightly news from Milwaukee, I thought about the weight of what I’d just seen. I thought of the impact this film will have on A Billion Lives and this generation.
Make it your passion to get your neighbors aware of this film. Get the word out any way you can.
If you think it should be free to see, go here.
You can now purchase it here
Find “A Billion Lives” on their website at:
Here’s a great interview by Herman Cain with Director Aaron Biebert:
You can listen to Aaron and myself two years later…
There IS more to come.
Keep ON #Vaping & FIGHTING on.