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After tragedy struck home last year, two combat-wounded veterans set out to end a little-known epidemic in America. Their 6,500-mile cross-country mission was to raise awareness of the high rate of suicide amongst Veterans and show their brothers and sisters-at-arms that there is hope for them. During their journey, they interviewed researchers, healthcare providers, and Veterans. Many of those they encountered had either contemplated or attempted suicide and were able to share the life-saving alternative sources of hope that they had found. Asking hard-hitting questions and opening up about their own struggles, and painfully spurred on by recent estimations that 22 veterans are taking their own lives every single day, Daniel and Doc will stop at nothing to reach tomorrowâ€™s twenty-two.
Project 22 includes interviews with veterans who have found help and support for problems they faced after coming home through various therapies and programs. Some which they found effective in easing their pain are shown in the film and include: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Equine therapy, Military Therapy Dogs, Meditation, Veteran Sailing Groups, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and more.
MAKING OF PROJECT 22
Project 22 was a 22 day, 6,500 mile motorcycle awareness campaign from San Francisco to New York City to raise awareness of the high rate of suicides within the Veteran community. As we traveled across the country, we spoke with many Veterans who had contemplated or attempted suicide and asked them for their stories; what led them to it and what brought them out of it. The responses regarding the challenges were in remarkable unison although the hope they found came in many different forms. We were able to explore the therapeutic potential behind sailing, pottery, education, activism, family, service dogs, painting and more.
We also spoke with leading researchers of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, mental health clinicians and educators, as well as, leading experts in warrior culture and combat stress. Coupled with the insightful and potentially life changing information we captured in interviews, we filmed the motorcycle awareness campaign, including camping, several organized rides and our final ride being escorted into World Trade Center by the Port Authority Police Department. We gathered incredible footage and news coverage in multiple cities, including Pittsburgh and New York.
Doc flew back to Dallas with a small crew to film three interviews missed during the trip due to inclement weather. Medicinal Missions continued the awareness campaign, through events and social media, leading up to and following the release of the documentary. Project 22 screened by request more than one hundred times around the United States, before the television premier hosted by Southern Oregon Public Television and the subsequent international, online release on PBS.org.
Project 22 was entirely crowd-funded via an IndieGoGo campaign and private donations. In addition, the crew was offered food, lodging and assistance wherever we rode, helping keep production costs low. Medicinal Missions is a production company and social enterprise co-owned by Daniel Egbert & Doc King. Their first production, Project 22 is fiscally sponsored by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit.