An intimate story that exposes the growing epidemic of soldier suicides and moral injury, ALMOST SUNRISE follows Tom and Anthony on a journey of hope and healing as they walk across America.
Their passage is one of redemption, an outer transformation and inner awakening brought on by a rediscovery of the power of community, bringing these young men out of their battered psyches and into a renewed sense of relationship with the people and world around them.
Last July, when I met Tom and Anthony, I was shocked to learn about the challenges that face many returning military after their time in combat. Homelessness, unemployment, PTSD, traumatic brain injury and the suicide epidemic that sees 22 veterans a day take their own life, are some of the many issues that ravage the veterans community. In fact, more soldiers have died from suicide since the war in Afghanistan began than have died in combat there.
Through Tom and Anthony’s cross-country journey, ALMOST SUNRISE meets veterans who battle these issues every day, issues that experts say will continue to grow as vets of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq come home and grapple with a return to daily life.
ALMOST SUNRISE also frames the compelling issue of moral injury, an emerging term in the mental health field identified by professionals frustrated with the failure of traditional institutional efforts to make a dent in the suicide rate. Moral injury is used to describe the psychological damage service members face when their experiences on the battlefield challenge their moral beliefs.
Despite the overwhelming challenges, this film is A STORY OF HOPE. Of moving through adversity and finding a way to the other side. Throughout their journey, Tom and Anthony encounter strangers whose kindness and generosity lead them to the reconnection they seek.
Documentary film is a powerful medium. With compelling characters and stories, documentaries can communicate with and inform audiences about the most pressing challenges facing society today - and inspire them to take action.
My last film, Give Up Tomorrow, told the story of Paco Larrañaga, who was falsely accused of murder, wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in the Philippines. The extensive outreach campaign saved Paco’s life and helped abolish the death penalty in the Philippines.
Equipped with all that I learned and achieved through the Free Paco Now campaign, I want to bring my passion for impact, awareness and action to an advocacy campaign that ignites this timely and much needed national and international dialogue around veterans issues.
In partnership with several non-profit organizations who do important work around this issue, we will engage veterans, their communities, and policy-makers in a frank conversation about the realities of “coming home”. We will support the physical and mental health work of veterans organizations by highlighting successful holistic therapies such as meditation, breath work and physical exercise in nature, as well as supporting community initiatives that serve veterans and work to bridge the gap between the military and civilian communities.
The outcome we hope for (and will campaign for through our outreach partners) is one of a broader public awareness about veterans issues.
This is not just a challenge for the veterans community. This is our responsibility.
(If you or your organization is interested in partnering with the ALMOST SUNRISE team on this outreach campaign, please contact us at email@example.com)
So please SHARE THIS KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN with your friends and family, on Facebook and Twitter - and show the world that you care.
And PLEASE DONATE WHATEVER YOU CAN. Any amount will be gratefully received and put to good use.
These young men and women, and their families, have given us so much, often putting themselves in harms way so we don’t have to, knowing they may never come home. We all need to better understand their experiences so we tackle the challenges they face together.
We are at a critical point in production. Tom and Anthony completed their trek on February 1st 2014 and (aside from a few more pick-up shoots), we have wrapped up primary filming. We are ready to dive into the edit and we need your support to do that.
The funds we raise through KickStarter will allow the SUNRISE team to line up all the essential components for post production - media management, archive, graphics, music composition etc - and get to work on constructing the film. And with over 400 hours of footage (not even including Tom and Anthony’s GoPro footage!) there’s plenty to do!
We are aiming to raise $70,000 to get busy in the edit suite. But with your support and generosity, we hope to surpass that goal so we can make this film the best it can be, ready to be used as an advocacy tool in the outreach campaign.
This KickStarter campaign is more than just a fundraising push for us. It is an opportunity to begin building support and igniting a conversation around the issues that we intend to address in the film.
Risks and challenges
Primary filming is already complete for this documentary so the biggest risk we face is not raising enough funds to launch the edit and start constructing the film as quickly as we'd like!
With the funds we hope to raise on KickStarter, we will have all that we need (since we have the skills, experience and passion!) to get to work on getting ALMOST SUNRISE made.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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