The City Dark
Documentary Feature
$10 online or at the door.
Sunday Jun 5, 2011
8:00PMDoors Open
8:30PMLive Music by The Fishermen Three
9:00PMFilm Begins
11:30PMReception in the Courtyard
In the event of rain the show will be rescheduled for a later date. No refunds. Seating is first come, first served. Physical seats are limited. This means you may not get a chair. You are welcome to bring a blanket and sit picnic-style, but no alcohol is permitted.

The Old American Can Factory
(On the roof)
Roof and Courtyard
232 Third St. at 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215
F/G to Carroll St. or R to Union


This Show Presented in Partnership With
XO Projects
Edgeworx Studios
New York Magazine
NY Premiere
NY Premiere

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?

SXSW weekend concludes with the New York premiere of The City Dark. Filmmaker Ian Cheney (a Rooftop alum, King Corn) grew up with a deep fascination with the sky -- he was even an amateur astronomer and astrophotographer who built his own telescope on his family’s farm in rural Maine. His childhood memories comprise as much looking out, into the universe, as looking around him. When he moved to New York, the relative lack of visible stars was a rude awakening. The difference seemed more than purely aesthetic, and eventually Cheney asked himself how the flood of light, and lack of night sky, could be affecting all creatures on the planet - humans and otherwise.


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

Howling At The Moon (Jason Tippett and Elizabeth Mims | Los Angeles, CA | 8 min.)
Matt and Harry receive an invitation to see a fellow employees band. To escape the awkward coffee shop performance, Matt comes up with a somewhat decent excuse.

Heliotropes (Michael Langan | San Francisco, CA | 3 min.)
HELIOTROPES documents the parallel goals of man and nature, through the most primitive and sophisticated means, to simply stay in the light. Based on the poem by Brian Christian.


Fishermen Three
The Fishermen Three play mystical country music and blues of every color. Simon Beins, member of New York City's weird folk trio The WoWz, writes the songs and plays a few instruments, and Raphi Gottesman provides spiritual guidance, friendship, and percussion. Rosina on Every Balcony, their debut album, was written in between WoWz tours with pals Herman Dune, The Wave Pictures, Turner Cody and Lisa Li-Lund. The ten songs, lovingly recorded with Major Matt Mason at Olive Juice Music Studios, layer smoldering guitars and visionary drumming beneath Beins' golden voice to transform confusion into purity and mourning into celebration.

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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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