'The City Dark' director Ian Cheney laments the loss of night


Questions for Ian Cheney, director and producer of "The City Dark":

Q. Where are you based?

A. I currently live in Maine, but I made The City Dark when I was living in Brooklyn. 

Producer and director Ian Cheney

Producer and director Ian Cheney

Q. What motivated you to make "The City Dark”?

A. Living in New York, I felt something was missing from my otherwise enthralling big city experience: the night sky. It made me wonder what we might be losing more broadly as an increasingly urban world population when we lose our connection to the stars. And can there be such a thing as too much light? 

Q. Where is the best place to find "night”?

A. Despite my love of finding deeply dark places out in Utah or Nevada or the woods of Maine, I also like the idea that we can bring more stars back to suburban and urban skies through smarter lighting. “Night” shouldn’t be something you need to leave the city to find. 

Q. What fascinating science did you uncover during the making of the film?

A. Before making the film, I knew nothing of “chronobiology,” the study of how our bodies’ workings are linked to circadian rhythms which in turn are linked to cues from the environment — like light. 

Q. What can any individual do to reduce light pollution? 

A. Most homeowners have outdoor lights — are they shielded? It’s a simple investment that can also save you money over the long run. And many folks who have seen our film have become active in introducing lighting ordinances to their towns or cities in an attempt to create broader change. 

One Earth Film Festival will present five screenings of "The City Dark" on Earth Day, April 22. Screening times vary. Get times and locations on our Earth Day page

—Cassandra West