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Benedict’s On Film

Rob Peace premiers at Sundance, The Rule streams on Kanopy

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

The story of our late Benedict’s brother, Robert DeShaun Peace ’98, premiered to sold out audiences at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Based on The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs, the film traces the inspiring life and senseless death of a brilliant Gray Bee who earned his way into Yale University. The film is written and directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor and stars Chance K. Smith, Mary J. Blige and Michael Kelly as Fr. Edwin Leahy, O.S.B. ’63. 

Writer and gaming critic Justin Clark ’99 reviewed the film for Slant Magazine, providing a deeper perspective into Mr. Peace’s time at St. Benedict’s Prep and his return to Newark after graduating with honors from Yale. “The entirety of Rob’s world had been telling him to get out of East Orange toward the end of his life, even though he had never had more power to bring his knowledge back to his community,” Mr. Clark wrote. “That’s a contradiction that haunts so many of us who grow up in these places — the innate knowledge that you should try your damnedest to uplift those you leave behind.”

“I imagine that if Rob could give us any advice that it would be to have the courage to accept the things we can’t change while continuing to change the things we can,” wrote Lucia Gallo ’24 in a reflection about the film offering the student perspective. “In the end, Rob’s passion for fixing things beyond his control cost him his life. I hope we learn from him and make the most of the support, guidance and opportunities we have been given, not only for ourselves, but for his memory as well.” 

Look for release information and screenings of Rob Peace on SBP’s social media channels. 

In other film news, the 2014 documentary, The Rule, is now streaming on Kanopy. Produced by Newark filmmakers Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno, the acclaimed documentary goes inside Newark Abbey to explore how Benedictine monks apply the 1,500-year-old precepts from The Rule of Saint Benedict to accompany the students attending St. Benedict’s today. Visit kanopy.com and search “The Rule.” 

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