Private Project

Where There Is Darkness

Having devoted his life to helping the less fortunate, Fr. Rene Robert was regarded as a "living saint" in the tight-knit community of St. Augustine, Florida.

But when Fr. Rene began helping ex-convicts get their lives together after prison, the people closest to him worried that he was putting his life at risk—especially the local sheriff, David Shoar, one of Fr. Rene’s longtime friends.

So, in April, 2016, when Fr. Rene failed to show up at a church service, Sheriff Shoar immediately put his best detectives on the case and local residents joined in searching for the beloved priest. It quickly became apparent, however, that Fr. Rene was not just missing—someone had taken him against his will.

True crime documentary WHERE THERE IS DARKNESS follows the nationwide search for Fr. Rene, which resulted in a series of shocking revelations and the discovery of a 20-year-old letter in which Fr. Rene seemed to foretell his own fate.

*A shorter version of the film (1:30:00) is also available for festival screening.

  • Sean Bloomfield
    Director
    Apparition Hill
  • Cimela Kidonakis
    Director
  • Sean Bloomfield
    Writer
    Apparition Hill, The Sound of Many Waters
  • Cimela Kidonakis
    Producer
    Apparition Hill
  • Jessi Hannapel
    Producer
    Apparition Hill
  • Sean Bloomfield
    Producer
    Apparition Hill
  • Dick McMahon
    Key Cast
    “Fr. Rene Robert”
  • Eric Newcombe
    Key Cast
    “Steven Murray”
  • James Bloomfield
    Key Cast
    “Steven Murray (child)”
  • Film Type:
    Documentary
  • Genres:
    Crime
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 43 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 1, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    140,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Film Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, RED
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • California Film Awards
    San Diego, California
    United States
    January 5, 2019
    Diamond Award - Best Feature Documentary
  • Aphrodite Film Awards
    New York City, NY State
    United States
    January 4, 2019
    Best Director Documentary Feature
  • International Independent Film Awards - Winter Session
    Encino, California
    United States
    December 29, 2018
    Gold Award - Best Documentary Feature
  • Prague Film Awards
    Prague
    Czech Republic
    January 11, 2019
    Czech Republic Premiere
    Best Feature Documentary
  • Prison City Film Festival
    Huntsville, Texas
    United States
    February 27, 2019
    Best Documentary Feature
  • Queen Palm International Film Festival
    Palm Springs, California
    United States
    December 8, 2018
    Best Feature Silver Winner, Best Director Silver Winner, Best Producer Bronze Winner
  • Spotlight Documentary Film Awards
    Atlanta, Georgia
    United States
    January 7, 2019
    Silver Winner - Best Documentary Feature
  • Oniros Film Festival
    Aosta
    Italy
    November 30, 2018
    Italian Premiere
    Finalist - Best Documentary Feature
  • George Lindsey UNA Film Festival
    Florence, Alabama
    United States
    February 28, 2019
    Finalist - Professional Documentary
  • Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    August 24, 2019
    Finalist - Best Feature Documentary
  • Back in The Box Competition
    Toluca Lake, California
    United States
    December 15, 2018
    Finalist - Best Feature Film
  • Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    March 23, 2019
    Semi-Finalist - Best Feature Documentary, Best Director
  • Near Nazareth Festival
    Afula
    Israel
    December 2, 2018
    Semi-Finalist - Best Documentary
  • Los Angeles CineFest
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    January 26, 2019
    Semi-Finalist - Best Documentary Feature
  • L-DUB Film Festival
    Lake Worth, Florida
    United States
    March 28, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Snowdance Independent Film Festival
    Landsberg am Lech
    Germany
    January 26, 2019
    German Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Miami Independent Film Festival
    Miami Beach, Florida
    United States
    December 30, 2018
    Nominated - Best Documentary Feature
  • The Impact DOCS Awards
    La Jolla, California
    United States
    January 29, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Central Michigan International Film Festival
    Mount Pleasant, Michigan
    United States
    February 13, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Dumbo Film Festival
    New York City, NY State
    United States
    February 8, 2019
    Official Selection
  • 6th International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra Awards
    Ierapetra, Crete
    Greece
    August 3, 2019
    Greece Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Fort Myers Film Festival
    Fort Myers, Florida
    United States
    April 1, 2019
    Official Selection
  • BAFF FLORIDA Filmmakers and Screenwriters Showcase
    Miami, Florida
    United States
    March 2, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Philadelphia Independent Film Awards
    Philedelphia, Pennsylvania
    United States
    May 16, 2019
    Official Selection
  • James Bond III Film Festival
    Calera, Alabama
    United States
    December 7, 2018
    Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Lead Actor, Best Soundtrack
  • London International Film Festival
    London
    United Kingdom
    March 16, 2019
    United Kingdom Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Ocean City Film Festival
    Ocean City, Maryland
    United States
    March 8, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Docs Without Borders Film Festival
    Nassau, Delaware
    United States
    June 16, 2019
    Official Selection
  • 16. Internacional Festival Signos de la Noite
    Paris
    France
    January 4, 2019
    Official Selection
  • The Louisiana International Film Festival
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    United States
    April 4, 2019
    Official Selection
  • 17. Internationales Festival Zeichen der Nacht
    Paris
    France
    January 18, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Magnolia Independent Film Festival
    Starkville, Mississippi
    United States
    February 28, 2019
    Best Documentary, Best Director
  • ME Film Festival
    Milledgeville, Georgia
    United States
    April 23, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Australian Inspirational Film Festival
    Wanneroo, Perth
    Australia
    March 22, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Maryland International Film Festival
    Hagerstown, Maryland
    United States
    March 29, 2019
    Official Selection
Director - Sean Bloomfield, Cimela Kidonakis