The City Dark
Documentary Feature
Free Show

Sunday Jun 12, 2011
7:30PMFilm Begins
9:00PMQ and A with Filmmaker Ian Cheney

The Piazza at Schmidt's
In the Piazza at the center of Schmidt\'s
Northern Liberties
Germantown Ave & N 2nd St, Philadephia, PA 19123
Take the MFL Subway to Girard Station or the #15 Trolley to Girard Station at Girard & Front


This Show Presented in Partnership With
The Awesome Fest
NY Premiere
NY Premiere

Rooftop kicks off our shows in Philly in partnership with The Awesome Fest with Ian Cheney's Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Edgeworx Post-Production Grant winning film. For thousands of years, the night sky was a crucial part of human experience, but due to light pollution, the stars are disappearing from our vision and consciousness. Would bringing back the sky make us better humans, or save us from some of the harmful effects of modern city life?


The City Dark (Ian Cheney | Brooklyn, NY | 84 min.)
The City Dark, which was awarded the Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Edgeworx Post-Production Grant in 2009, is a deep exploration of the complex issues involving light pollution. Broken up into chapters, The City Dark moves across the globe -- from Times Square, where, arguably, night never comes; to one of New York City’s few remaining observatories, at the College of Staten Island; to “Sky Village,” a haven for astronomers and stargazers in rural Arizona; to the best place on earth to view the night sky, at the University of Hawaii, where astronomers scan the universe for possible earth-killing asteroids -- and which, itself, is threatened by the lights of the cities beneath the volcano. The film is beautifully shot -- Cheney’s love of stars and love of photography, really shining in the carefully considered cinematography.

Cheney puts his lens on threats to wildlife -- including birds flying into buildings at night, disoriented newborn sea turtles unable to find their way to the sea after hatching, disappearing fireflies -- as well lesser known threats, such as those to humans. Cheney interviews biologists and doctors about the possible connections between nighttime shift work and various cancers.

No matter what, it is clear that electric light is one of the most important factors in having safe cities, and in our having become a technologically advanced and industrialized society. However, The City Dark begs the question, what might we be losing here? In addition to health and environmental issues, perhaps we are also missing our crucial connection to the immediacy of looking up at millions of stars and seeing how small we are -- what astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson calls the “resetting of our egos.”

- Sarah Palmer

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About Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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