Global Digital Releasing has acquired worldwide rights to directors John Bernardo and Steven E. Mallorca’s powerful documentary A Peloton of One, set to release nationwide on VOD.
When describing the film’s narrative the directors said, “Sexually abused at 12 years old by a priest in his New Jersey parish, Dave Ohlmuller set out on a sprawling solo bicycle ride from Chicago to New York to inspire other Survivors to come forward and tell their own stories, as well as educate the masses (and himself) on the impacts of this scourge. Along this 700-mile journey, Dave meets other Survivors abused by coaches, teachers, family members, and like Dave himself, Catholic priests. Through these interactions and common stories, Dave tries to find a way to connect and heal, mile by mile, as he heads back east towards his childhood home.”
The stories are visceral and heart wrenching as you would expect. From struggles with substance abuse, relationships and deep-seated shame, no topic was off limits to these brave survivors. The filmmakers, along with co-producer Joe Capozzi did a great job of lining up an amazing array of survivors, families, friends, activists and legal experts to interview and for Ohlmuller to interface with along his journey. Of particular note is Professor Marci Hamilton, the founder and CEO of Child USA, a nonprofit think tank dedicated to improving laws and public policy so as to help end child abuse and neglect. A big part of her work involves the fight to eliminate child sex abuse statutes of limitation, which vary wildly from state to state. During her interview she was able to break down the legalities and loopholes that institutions (churches, insurance companies) use to circumvent the statutes in a way that is incredibly informative and easily digestible for the viewer.
The film is also extremely responsible in expressing the value and need for trained psychological professionals to help guide survivors in their quest for healing. Ohlmuller makes no secret of the fact that in addition to raising awareness and advocating for the elimination of statutes of limitation that his bike ride was primarily a means of coping. He is encouraged at several points in the film by several different people to seek professional help and to not exclusively rely on physical exercise as a way to work through his trauma.
While the subject matter of A Peloton of One is extremely difficult, it is of the utmost importance. As the documentary itself makes mention, it is silence that enables child sex abuse to perpetuate. Let’s join the filmmakers and make some noise.