Documentary • 2012 • 83 minutes
THE CITY DARK chronicles the disappearance of darkness. The film follows filmmaker (and amateur astronomer) Ian Cheney (KING CORN, BIG RIVER,TRUCK FARM), who moves to New York City from Maine and discovers an urban sky almost completely devoid of stars. He poses a deceptively simple question, 'What do we lose, when we lose the night?'.
Exploring the threat of killer asteroids in Hawai'i, tracking disoriented hatching turtles along the Florida coast, and rescuing birds on Chicago streets injured by collisions with buildings, Cheney unravels the myriad implications of a globe glittering with lights--including increased breast cancer rates from exposure to light at night, and a generation of kids without a glimpse of the universe above. In six chapters weaving together cutting-edge science with personal, meditative sequences reflecting on the human relationship to the sky, THE CITY DARK shines new light on the meaning of the dark.
The film features stunning astrophotography and a cast of eclectic scientists, philosophers, historians, and lighting designers including Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson, astronaut Don Pettit, neurologist Dr. George Brainard, Harvard Medical School scientist Dr. Steven Lockley, cosmologist Chris Impey, and lighting designer Herve Descottes.
"The most comprehensive and intelligent documentary on light pollution.” —Bob Parks, Executive Director, International Dark-Sky Association
New York Times Critic's Pick
Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature, Environmental Film Festival at Yale
Jury Prize for Best Score/Music, SXSW Film Festival