POV: Since the ‘The City Dark’ premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in 2011, it’s played to audiences around the world. How have people reacted to the film, both in America and internationally?
Ian Cheney: The response has been wonderful. It’s reassuring to hear from older people that they miss the stars, and that they want to become active in curbing light pollution in their communities; and it’s terrific to engage younger people in thinking about how to protect a resource — the darkness — that few of us have noticed disappearing.
POV: You point towards the inventive use of lighting at the High Line Park in New York as a model of what lighting cities in the future may/should look like. Are there other examples of exciting usage of lighting technology taking place?
Cheney: LED lighting promises to make our lights more energy efficient. Hopefully, these lights can also be designed to be more directional, and more shielded, so that we can get all the light we need but use less energy and cause less wasteful glare in the process.
POV: What do you think is the most important thing an individual can do to bring back the night sky?
Cheney: Look up. The more we remember to look up, the more we notice the changes in our night skies; the lights in our cities; and the opportunities for creating better lighting regimes to bring back the stars and the dark.
POV: What are you working on next?
Cheney: We’re knee-deep in two films: The Search for General Tso, a film chronicling the rise of Chinese food in American culture, and Bluespace, a film about the urban waterways around New York City, and the search for water in outer space.
The City Dark is now streaming on the POV site, but only for a limited time! Watch the film online »