Almost Sunrise

An inspiring story of resilience & recovery
Year Released
Film Length(s)
98 mins
Closed captioning available All4Access available
Remote video URL


Almost Sunrise tells the true story of two friends, ex-soldiers, who embark on an epic journey to heal from their time at war.

*Emmy-Nominated for Outstanding Current-Affairs Documentary, this title is currently on SALE! To see a short video of "What Educators Are Saying" please copy & paste this link in your browser:

Featured review

The film depicts the emotional agony and self-destructive aftermath of "moral injury" and follows two sufferers along a path that alleviates their psychic distress and offers hope for eventual recovery.
Jane E. Brody
The New York Times


A rare, hopeful look at the life of a veteran, beyond his demons – from the Emmy® Award-nominated creators of "Give Up Tomorrow"

Two friends, in an attempt to put their haunting combat experiences behind them, embark on an epic 2,700-mile trek on foot across America seeking redemption and healing as a way to close the moral chasm opened by war.

Their odyssey across snowy mountains and vast deserts inspires an inner journey that culminates in a remarkable spiritual transformation that could light the way for others seeking to reclaim their lives. Suicide among military veterans has reached epidemic proportions and can be the result of what mental health professionals call “moral injury” – lasting wounds to the soul caused by participation in events that go against one’s deeply held sense of right and wrong.

ALMOST SUNRISE is an intimate, vérité film that eschews stereotypes, and instead, captures an unprecedented portrait of veterans - one of hope, potential and untold possibilities.

Subject Areas: Social Work, Mental Health, Military & Veterans, Psychology, Peace & Conflict Studies, Spirituality, Alternative Medicine, Sociology

Purchasing Options:

Our DVD package lets your organization, school or business use a single copy of ALMOST SUNRISE.

*Individual therapists not part of a clinic or larger institution can purchase a DVD at the “Community Group” price.

Our institutional streaming options allow anyone in your organization, school or business to access ALMOST SUNRISE online. You will not be able to log in off-site.

Copies of ALMOST SUNRISE may not be rented or sub-leased to others, or copied. You may not upload the film to any website or streaming service such as YouTube, Vimeo or Amazon Prime. You may show the film publicly if you have purchased a license of the film from New Day Films.

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What can I say but what a triumph… Almost Sunrise was the focal point at the conference for social workers in the military. It fits with social work ideals of self-empowerment, client-centered care and a bio-psycho-social model.
Benjamin R. Sher
Silver School of Social Work, New York University
Almost Sunrise explores the idea of moral injury as an act of serious transgression that leads to serious inner conflict because the experience is at odds with core ethical and moral beliefs.
Lucy Westcott
The film did a great job of portraying hope. That is the biggest weapon we can use against this crisis. That was something I really enjoyed, especially seeing how Tom received help and got better, because a lot of veterans out there feel hopeless. This film shows that we can get better and this is something that doesn't have to be permanent.
Oscar Mier
Neuroscience Student, Stanford University
I couldn't have imagined the screening event coming together any better. I think this is the first step in making space for veterans both on and off campus to discuss mental health and for non-military students to understand the veteran experience.
Cristine Starke
President, Georgetown University Student Veteran's Association
Films like Almost Sunrise create a true starting point to have something that is visual, real, and storytelling. It's something that absolutely spurs conversation and questions. II walk away from the film with an even better depth of understanding from watching, and I'm so appreciative of that.
Elizabeth Medina
Dean of Students, Concordia University
I loved that you made war and trauma everybody's probable and something that has to be dealt with collectively. The film is layered and subtle enough to reach multiple audiences. There is something about the visual media, especially of the documentary with real people, that is so powerful.
Katie Owens-Murphy
PhD, University of North Alabama
This will get college audiences thinking about issues they might not have thought about before. It's not just about the technical aspects of war and what it does to you psychologically, but if there is a sense of the soul or spirit that might be injured, and how do you repair that in a way that might not be medical.
Dr. Laura Franey
Dean of Arts and Humanities, Millsaps College
I think what all my students will get out of this film is an appreciation for what these vets go through, and see the parallels in their own life. A lot of these kids have depression and other issues in their life... Anytime I can bring something that's authentic to my students, that's really the way they learn. And when I bring the actual people into the classroom it's by far the best experience.
Tony Zappia
War & Peace Teacher, West Bend High School
I loved it. I learned about the veteran suicide crisis and the difference between PTSD and Moral Injury. Two students here committed suicide in the last two years. It's a new way to show them the problem without saying It only happens to you kids. I think it's definitely appropriate for high school students to watch and learn.
Mario Solis
Buena Vista High School
Healing Our Warriors: Sharing the burdens veterans carry can help bring peace to their troubled souls
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Epoch Times (cover story)

Awards and Screenings


Director Commentary

Emmy® Award-nominated director Michael Collins:

"A few years ago, as part of a video project I’d volunteered for, I had the opportunity to interview veterans and hear about their lives and struggles. One particular day, my interview subject casually mentioned, “Twenty veterans kill themselves every day.” I thought I had misheard. I didn’t. That was a pivotal moment for me in this journey to make this film. I realized right then and there that there was a crisis in this country, taking place right in front of our eyes, one to which many of us, including myself, were blind. In some deep silent corner of that realization, I felt utterly compelled to do something, to act, to serve, to help these people who had sacrificed so much.

Once I had passed the “sniff test” with them, these vets opened up and shared with me some of their most intimate, harrowing experiences, usually those found on the extreme end of the human spectrum. The connection we shared through these exchanges was of an intensity that would knock me off my feet. It often felt as if time itself had stopped. At some fundamental level, I wanted to create a film that would give others a chance to experience that stunning reciprocity, that unbelievable, profound connection. I believe that hearing stories can lead to empathy, which can lead to action.

One of the most important and, indeed, hopeful aspects of the story is the wider acknowledgement that there is such a thing as a “moral injury,” a wound that has no outward physical traits but yet can act as the primary unseen force that can destroy a person’s life. Veterans and their families are sometimes all too familiar with some of the possible symptoms; substance abuse, alcohol addiction, estrangement, failed marriages, low self esteem, depression, rage, helplessness and botched suicide attempts. But just by identifying the nature of this injury, we can take the seminal steps toward healing it in appropriate and effective ways. It’s clear; we cannot merely medicate our way out of a pain stemming from inner conflict. The only remedy that makes sense is to treat it at the source, which requires one to turn within.

The making of the film has created a tremendous opening for me. I can more deeply appreciate and, hopefully, as a consequence, more deeply convey an understanding: that in embracing the struggles of these men and women, and their families—these very human pillars who endeavor to keep the home together—we are not only helping to lift whole communities, but, in essence, we are lifting ourselves. Truly, there is no “other.”

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • All4Access
  • DVD Extras
  • Resources for Educators

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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