CIFF brings ‘City Dark’ to Unity

Sep 17, 2012
Ian Cheney grew up seeing the stars in Waldoboro, but things are different in Times Square.

Unity — On Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. there will be a screening of the documentary film “The City Dark” followed by a Skype Q&A with director Ian Cheney, who grew up in Waldoboro, at the Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts, 42 Depot St. The screening is presented in partnership with the upcoming Camden International Film Festival.

“The City Dark,” which had a work-in-progress screening at the 2010 CIFF, is a feature documentary about light pollution and the disappearing night sky. It premiered in competition at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival. After moving to light-polluted New York City from rural Maine, filmmaker Cheney began to wonder: Do we need the dark? Exploring the threat of killer asteroids in Hawaii, tracking hatching turtles along the Florida coast and rescuing injured birds on Chicago streets, 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.

Featuring stunning astrophotography and a cast of eclectic scientists, philosophers, historians and lighting designers, “The City Dark” is the definitive story of light pollution and the disappearing stars.

Cheney is a Brooklyn-based documentary filmmaker. He grew up in New England and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Yale. After graduate school, he co-created and starred in the Peabody Award-winning theatrical hit and PBS documentary “King Corn” (2007); directed the feature documentary “The Greening of Southie” (Sundance Channel, 2008); and co-produced the Planet Green film “Big River” (2009). He maintains a 1/1000th-acre farm in the back of his '86 Dodge pickup, which is at the center of his film “Truck Farm” (2011).

Cheney has been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Men’s Journal; and on CNN, MSNBC and “Good Morning America.” In 2011, he and longtime collaborator Curt Ellis received the Heinz Award for their environmental advocacy. An avid astrophotographer, Cheney travels frequently to show his films, lead discussions, and give talks about sustainability, agriculture and the human relationship to the natural world.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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