“As a 17-year-old high school senior, I have dealt with life challenges. I take medication for anxiety and depression. I believe this film reaches a further audience than just veterans. It reached me. The film is so well done it allows itself to reach many people. The scene where Anthony walks through the gateway touched me. I think everybody can learn from this, beauty is everywhere you just need to look deeper sometimes.” Student, Mr. Zappias War & Peace Class
“Michael, thank you so much for making this movie. Watching it really opened up my eyes to the troubles and grief that veterans struggle with daily. I went home and talked to my parents for hours about the film, and I’m going to be talking to all of my family about it and try to spread the word, because this really needs to be seen by everyone. My best friend and I have both enlisted in the Navy, but his going SEALs, and I have been afraid for him, but now I know that there is a way to heal those injuries.” Student, Mr. Zappias War & Peace Class
“Because of Almost Sunrise, I was able to learn so much more about veterans. Before, I never knew how many soldiers suffer from war after their deployment and how much they really struggle. Daily life for them is so hard and seeing that was extremely moving. Your documentary was a perfect way to show veteran’s struggles in a way that was emotionally connective and interesting. Thank you for bringing this to us and shaping my view on veterans.” Student, Mr. Zappias War & Peace Class
Thank you so much for making this film and bringing it to West Bend. The film changed my perspective and opened my eyes to the real problems behind war. Student, West Bend High School
“As an 18 year old student, I was so touched by your film. I have barely any affiliation with the military and veterans so I can only imagine how much it touched people who have loved ones in the military. A 5-star movie.” Student, West Bend High School
Last night you come to uwwc and shared a story that will be with West Bend forever. Almost Sunrise was astonishing film. Their wasn’t a time where I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. The amount of every emotion possible came! Student, Mr. Zappias War & Peace Class
“Thank you for bringing this amazing film to my town. The film really had a large impact on my family and I. I believe that everything in this film needs to be heard by everyone in this country. Anthony and Tom’s story is something that they are not alone with. Moral injury and PTSD are issues in this country, and I believe this film will help with the cause. I believe the part about the marine is needed within the film. I think it gave us (those watching the film) an inside view of what it actually is like having an individual commit suicide within the army.
Thank you for creating this must needed film on this topic." Senior student, West Bend East High School.
“Personally, I loved the film. As being a high schooler, it was great. I love film production and photography, and I am a huge enthusiast. This is a piece of art that was put together VERY well.” Student, West Bend East High School.
“The movie made me think deeper than just thinking that veterans suffer from depression. However, I didn’t realize how much of it came from guilt. It shocks me that these people fight for their country and come back feeling guilty. Especially because we portray them as these glamorous heroes. But, they are dealing with very ugly emotions deep down that are hard for them to explain. That is the deep stuff that I took away from the documentary.” Student, West Bend East High School.
“I want you to know right away just how many people your beautiful film affected. It really hit me with the emotional fact right from the beginning. I love how you started the film with the age of innocence, then exploded into the raw power and anger and guilt of Tom and Anthony. They seem like exceptional people and I am so happy you got to share their story with us. I know, for me, you made my mind up that I want to make a career out of helping veterans when they come back or to be a soldier and help them while they’ve there. I have always wanted to help others and have always felt pain and sadness for veterans, but now I want to make a difference for sure. Your movie helped me decide. Thank you.” Student, West Bend East High School.
“I loved how the film was biased and how informational it was. I enjoyed how you guys bought up to araise awareness for veteran suicide. Also loved the Q&A because hearing Anthony and his wife be honest about their answers. This movie also helped me rethink the way I think and talk to vets because I have lots of family members that are. It also helped me think to open up and express my feelings.” Student, Mr. Zappias War & Peace Class
“Mr. Collins, I went to see your movie at UWWC last night. I really liked your movie and I think you did a great job of portraying the problem, and then showing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
It was also very well edited so that we would see how Anthony and Tom were affected by their journey, and then how it changed people back at home. I think you did a really good job directing the film. Thank you again for putting so much time and effort into something like this.” Student, Mr. Zappias War & Peace Class
“Dear Mr. Collins, you did a wonderful job directing this point-of-view-changing film. It really got me thinking in a different way of how I see the military and the veterans who fought. Thank you for having us at the movie presentation and for being there at the presentation.” Student, Mr. Zappias War & Peace Class
“I thought Almost Sunrise was an excellent film with an incredible and powerful message. I thought it was presented perfectly and loved that the film didn’t feel like it had a bias and was there to present a message and allow the viewer to absorb and think about it. I think, from the perspective of a senior in high school, that more children/high schoolers should be able to see this because it would really help them put things in perspective. Also, the hope it gives to veterans is an amazing thing and thank you so much.” Student, West Bend East High School.
“I really liked how it concentrated more on Tom and Anthony and their families, and it didn’t dwell on all the horrible things that they’ve been through. The film did a great job of following their journeys and watching them heal, I liked how positive it was on what veterans can do to help, instead of being negative and political. The film was good, it felt real.” Student, West Bend East High School.
“Thank you so much for showing us this film. It showed such a powerful message for all of us and it really changes my thought perspective on joining the Navy. The recruiter I talk to tells me all the good things that will come out of enlisting when really there are people that suffer from trauma, depression, and suicide thoughts. It was so cool just to listen to the way Anthony answer each question with such amazing detail. Thank you so much.” Student, West Bend East High School.
“Dear Michael, the film was so powerful, I will forever be touched by the reality of veterans after war. The way you showed the family's real emotions and how they are affected by the veterans.
The film was eye opening on the term “moral injury”, my uncle is a Vietnam war veteran, and to see how they feel deep down helped me realize how he feels. I really believe that his film will bring the number 20 down. I hope this helps veterans find hope from Anthony and Tom’s journey. I am so lucky to be able to see the film.” Student, West Bend East High School.
“Dear Michael, thank you so much for making this film and bringing it to West Bend. The film changed my perspective and opened my eyes to the real problems behind war. What really impacted me was when Anthony took the steps out on the canyon and it clicked and that’s when he arally started to get better. Also, when you filmed the funeral of the young man that took his life. It really affected me when she said everyone is saying this poor boy lost his life at war, but he really took his own life. This really showed me the true demons these people feel. It also suprise me how these people can survive war and people trying to kill them and then come home and face such horrible demons that they’d rather kill themselves than face them. Again, thank you so much for bringing this film to me and West Bend and opening our eyes to these problems.” Student, West Bend East High School.
“First of all thank you for the movie and bringing it into West Bend. It was amazing. I thought the walk could of went a little longer because it was a main part of the movie and I feel like it ended early. But it wasn’t a big deal at all. It was a great movie. A need movie. Thank you.” Student, West Bend East High School.