New documentary recounts the kidnapping of a Catholic priest
Albany, NY – The 2016 disappearance of beloved Albany priest Fr. Rene Robert is the subject of a new documentary by Florida based production company Stella Mar Films, and Albany will have the chance to see the film this Tuesday, January 29, followed by Huntington on January 31 in one of two pre-premiere screenings.
Fr. Rene grew up in Albany and was ordained at St. Mary of the Assumption church before moving to St. Augustine, Florida with the Franciscan order.
The Albany screening of Where There is Darkness is being hosted by the filmmakers themselves, Sean Bloomfield, Cimela Kidonakis, Jessi Hannapel, and Emily Black. Many of Fr. Rene's family and friends, including his sister Debbie and brother Brian, will also attend.
The documentary first screened in St. Augustine – where most of the film takes place – and people from both sides of the story came together to watch it.
"Our first screening was so beautiful. Both families responded with so much compassion," said Kidonakis. "This film isn't just about mercy, it creates mercy."
The small, independent team has been documenting the story for over two years and they will be available for a Q&A after the screening.
Although they completed the final cut of the film just last month, Where There Is Darkness has already won a slew of film festival awards including Best Documentary and Best Director(s)at the Los Angeles Crime and Horror Film Festival in November.
“This is a film about hope and forgiveness,” said co-director Sean Bloomfield. “Even though it involves a tragic event, we uncovered so much hidden beauty as we retraced the circumstances surrounding Fr. Rene’s disappearance, and the audience response so far has been amazing.”
Experience the award-winning film and a Q&A with the filmmakers at Spectrum 8 Theatre, Albany on January 29. With most of the film’s showings selling out, tickets must be purchased in advance from their website, StellaMarFilms.com.
Where There is Darkness also plays on Thursday, January 31, in Huntington, NY through a screening hosted by a local organizer. The Huntington screening also includes a Q&A with the filmmakers. Find ticket info here.
The New York screenings are the beginning of a number of chances for people to see the film in different parts of the world, including Germany, Ireland, Scotland and Canada. And anyone can bring the film to their town by hosting a screening. Learn more.