On Monday, June 13, Human Rights Watch Film Festival hosted the New York City premiere of Almost Sunrise at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Presented in partnership with POV and Stop Soldier Suicide, the documentary played to a packed house. Directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Michael Collins, the documentary illuminates the concept of “moral injury” — the transgression of deeply held beliefs during wartime. It follows the journey of two former soldiers who, haunted by their own combat experiences, take a 2,700-mile trek on foot across America seeking redemption, acceptance and a way to close the moral chasm opened by war.
The screening was followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session with filmmaker Michael Collins, producer Marty Syjuco and film subjects Anthony Anderson, Holly Anderson and Tom Voss. The panel began with Collins’ discussion about Almost Sunrise‘s distinct take on veteran issues: “It’s a documentary about hope. We wanted it to be a film about looking forward.”
During the following half-hour, panelists and audience members discussed topics ranging from Anderson and Voss’ healing processes after the film, to broader viewpoints on the importance of recognizing “moral injury.” Film subject Anthony Anderson offered this distinction between Moral Injury and PTSD: “PTSD wakes me up at night – Moral Injury keeps me from falling asleep.”
Make sure to watch for Almost Sunrise‘ broadcast on POV in 2017. For now, watch the trailer and stay up to date with the film by following them on Twitter @Almost_Sunrise and liking their Facebook page. Also, be sure to take a look at photos from the event.
This year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival continues through June 19. As a part of its mission, the “film festival brings to life human rights abuses through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathize and demand justice for all people.” For a full list of events, visit their website.