BenU president's "Night for Day: The XP Story" sheds light on rare genetic disorder

February 16, 2017

Documentary film explores how those affected by xeroderma pigmentosum live in dramatic and unusual ways

Lisle, Illinois ~ Can you imagine living a life hiding from the sun?

In his 2005 film “Night for Day: The XP Story,” Benedictine University President Michael S. Brophy, Ph.D., M.F.A., an award-winning writer and director, examines the dramatic and unusual ways patients afflicted with xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) around the world cope with the disease. XP is a debilitating disease characterized by extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet (sun) light that can lead to cancer and death. Film participants include citizens from Cuba, Peru, the United Kingdom and the United States. The film will be shown from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14, in Goodwin Hall Auditorium.

There will be a Q&A after the screening.

This event is free and open to the public.

XP is caused by mutations in genes that repair DNA, which can be damaged by ultraviolet light. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this inherited skin disorder usually appears in infancy or early childhood. Without sun protection, about half of the children with this disorder develop their first skin cancer by age 10.

About 30 percent of those with XP develop neurological abnormalities such as hearing loss, difficulty walking, swallowing and talking, loss of intellectual function and seizures. In the United States, this rare condition is estimated to affect about one in 1 million people.

An accomplished filmmaker, Brophy has written and directed three feature films, “Tina and Lance,” selected to the Mannheim-Heidelberg (Germany), Philadelphia and Temecula Valley Film Festivals, and winner of the Best Feature Award at New York’s Capital Film Festival; “Victoria Pool,” selected to the Three Rivers Film Festival in Pittsburgh, Pa.; and “Father Brown,” a finalist for the 2001 Independent Feature Project Market screenwriting award.

His films have been screened at festivals, museums, theaters, foundations and universities throughout the United States, Cuba and Europe. He has written screenplay adaptions of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov,” Thomas Mann’s “Buddenbrooks” for Tat Films in Germany, and Carole Maso’s novel “Defiance,” which was selected to the 2002 Independent Feature Project Market in New York.

A Fulbright exchange scholarship recipient who has taught and conducted research in Europe and Cuba, Brophy led the Marymount California University campus before becoming Benedictine’s 11th president in August 2015. He has also served as the campus executive officer, dean and associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin’s Baraboo campus, and as associate provost at Long Island University.

Brophy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music (Piano) and a Master of Arts in English at The College of Saint Rose (Albany, N.Y.), and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing at Long Island University. He earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 9,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. A 2016 PayScale Inc. report ranked BenU one of the top 10 colleges in Illinois for return on investment and in the top 20 percent nationally. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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