"Almost Sunrise" documentary follows Milwaukee veterans' journey to healing

Posted at 6:05 PM, Sep 30, 2016

In August 2013, Iraq war veterans Anthony Anderson and Tom Voss left the Milwaukee County War Memorial on a journey of a lifetime.

They set out to walk the 2,700 miles from Milwaukee to Santa Monica, California.

Anderson recalled Wisconsin being "the worst" because it was so hot and humid.

Just minutes into their walk, they ran into trouble. "Three blocks into the walk Tom was like, 'I have a blister,'" Anderson said.

A film crew led by director Michael Collins joined Anderson and Voss on their journey.

"They were somewhere new every hour," Collins said. "This was very much an internal journey. From the beginning they said our goals are to heal ourselves from our time at war."

Anderson said, "I wanted to be a better dad, a better husband, a better person." He said he needed to do something to try to get that back.

When Voss and Anderson returned from serving in Iraq, they experienced moments of depression, anxiety and anger. Anderson said when one is in that mood, you resist what you should be doing.

"So to get better, you have to get worse," he said. "You actually have to address that stuff." Both veterans felt exhausting themselves physically got them to a point where they could really determine why they were feeling those feelings.

Collins said it was one thing to follow the veterans' journey across the beautiful landscape of the United States, "but really tracking what's going on inside of them was a challenge that we were always facing."

The walk took five months. Though they accomplished a lot, they felt like there was still a lot more to do.

The veterans and film crew hope everyone including veterans and their families see the film and take something away from it. They have established a campaign to make sure veterans get the help and care they need.

"Almost Sunrise" will premiere in Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Film Festival. Show times are Saturday, October 1 at 7pm at the Oriental Theater and Sunday, October 2 at 10:30am also at the Oriental Theater.

Get more information here.