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OW Our World

The City Dark

The City Dark

Original Title: The City Dark
Director: Ian Cheney
USA | English
2011 | 84min. | Colour
Format: HDCAM
12+
Ian Cheney has been an avid amateur astronomer since his childhood in rural Maine, a state in the northeast United States that is renowned for its brilliant night sky. Years later, living in New York City, Cheney finds the sky is mostly devoid of stars – as it is in Abu Dhabi – and begins to wonder, What do we lose when we can’t see the heavens above us each night?

Cheney’s playful and poetic pursuit of an answer becomes both a personal and a scientific exploration. Interviews with NASA astronaut Don Pettit; Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City and host of the popular US television series NOVA; and Ann Druyan, co-writer of the series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage – along with other astronomers, cancer researchers, ecologists and philosophers – help bring us closer to pinpointing exactly what it is city-dwellers are missing out on, but they also raise more questions. Does light pollution have a palpable effect on our psyche or our physical well-being? Are night-shift workers more prone to developing cancer? Is mankind enveloping itself in a luminous fog? Is this a metaphor for the times we live in? Cheney probes these questions and encourages us to spend more of our waking hours in pursuit of the wonder and majesty of the universe.

Featuring stunning astrophotography, brilliant animation and a haunting score by The Fisherman Three and Ben Fries, The City Dark is a beautifully composed ode to the disappearing night sky.

– Jim Browne

Director,  Ian Cheney

Director,  Ian Cheney

Ian Cheney was raised in New England, and received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Yale University. He is a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and environmental advocate based in New York. His films include Truck Farm (2010), Big River (2009), The Greening of Southie (2008) and King Corn (2007). Cheney is an avid astrophotographer, a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post and he writes for The New York Times.

Cast and Crew

Director
Ian Cheney
Cast
With: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Don Pettit, Ann Druyan, Jack Newton, Chris Impey, Jeffrey Kuhn, Roger Erkich
Production Company
Wicked Delicate Films
Music
The Fishermen Three, Ben Fries
Producer
Ian Cheney
Foreign Right Sales
Cargo Film + Releasing
Editor
Ian Cheney, Frederick Shanahan
Cinematographer
Ian Cheney, Taylor Gentry
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