Esteemed Hollywood film composer Stephen Endelman has provided music for the films of Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and many others. His credits as a composer include A Bronx Tale, The Englishmen Who Went Down a Hill but Came Down a Mountain and Jawbreaker. Endelman spoke to us from his home in Los Angeles about the film he recently made, A Boy a Man and a Kite which depicts his real-life experience of sexual abuse he endured when he was a young music student.
A Boy, a Man and a Kite had its world premiere in London on October 17th and Endelman is figuring out how to release it wider. “We are going through the film festival routes and we’re also connecting with a couple of charities so that they can use the film as a resource.” he said.
Endelman’s film is not about Trevor Bolton—the headmaster at Carmel College in Oxfordshire, England who abused the then 10-year-old music student over a two-year period in the ’70s. It is instead about the young character based on himself confronting his tormentor – “The little Daniel who faces the big Daniel,” as Endelman describes it.
Endelman created the Consent Project, a foundation which provides an anonymous platform for victims of sexual abuse to document their truth. “Money raised by the charity will go to victims who aren’t as fortunate as I was,” Endelman said, who for many years, never told anybody about the incidents at Carmel. “I buried it deep inside,” he admits. “It’s not really very polite in a party conversation.”
NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE AND REALIZATION
In 2009, Endelman was hospitalized from a rare form of brain cancer which led to him falling into a three-month long coma. “When I woke up, I realized ‘well, what’s the reason for my sickness? I’m quite healthy.’ I was thinking about the repression that I’d given myself in not dealing with these incidents.” From there, he began talking and even writing about them. After 20 years, he opened up to his parents about what occurred. “I didn’t ask for support until I was much older. It wasn’t until I got better after my sickness that I really went into it and started to talk about it.”
Years later, in 2015, Endelman received a call. “It was the police in London saying that I’d been called as a witness in the Crown prosecution case against Trevor Bolton. I said, ‘he’s been dead for a decade’ and they said ‘no. He’s alive.’ ” Endelman went to England to testify against Bolton who was sentenced to 19 years in jail.
“I believe generally but not always, that people who abuse children were abused themselves,” Endelman shares. “Before a child is sexually aware they’re very vulnerable. The child doesn’t know that what’s happening is wrong because nobody’s talked to them about it. My big fear was that I would become an abuser—but I didn’t.”
THE PROCESS OF HEALING
Endelman believes one thing in particular, saved him—his love of music. “I feel that music has the ability to change and it certainly helped me. Because I was a classical musician it helped keep me out of trouble. Music has therapeutic powers that release chemicals in the brain and that’s really important.”
There is one other therapy that works for Endelman – opening up. “For men, it’s particularly hard because of the stigma associated with it. Nobody really wants to talk about it because it’s embarrassing. It’s nasty. It’s not your fault but it still feels that way. Just go talk to somebody who’s non-judgemental. You have to find an impartial person and you just have to tell them your truth. That’s the key to the process of healing.”
Today, Endelman is happy to share his story not only by talking but by telling his story through film. He says that he is in a great place today. “I feel fine,” he said. “I’m very happy with my lovely family, we just moved by the ocean and the air is clean. It’s very peaceful. It’s just lovely.”
For more information on Stephen Endelman’s film A Boy A Man and a Kite visit www.thefilmcollaborative.org/fiscalsponsorship/projects/aboyamanandakite
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