Documentary on effects of light pollution to be screened Dec. 1

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A free screening of the feature documentary “The City Dark” will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, in Room 113 of the Carnegie Building (Carnegie Cinema) on the University Park campus. Released this year and billed as “a search for night on a planet that never sleeps,” the award-winning film takes a whimsical, thought-provoking look at how life on Earth has been impacted by the pervasive spread of electric light into the darkness of the planet’s night skies.

Andrea Wilkerson, a doctoral candidate in architectural engineering, arranged to bring the film to Penn State.

“One of the reasons I find lighting so fascinating is its interdisciplinary nature,” she said. “'The City Dark' presents the positive and negative aspects of lighting, using an interdisciplinary approach that makes the film interesting for students from a range of disciplines.”

Produced by Ian Cheney, the Peabody Award-winning filmmaker of “King Corn” and “Truck Farm,” "The City Dark” blends a humorous tone with cutting edge science, poetic footage, and stellar soundtrack. Along the way, the documentary unravels the myriad implications of a globe glittering with lights -- including increased breast cancer rates, disrupted wildlife migratory patterns and ecosystems, and a generation of kids without a glimpse of the universe above.

Featuring stunning astrophotography and a cast of eclectic scientists, historians and lighting designers, “The City Dark” is the definitive story of the disappearance of darkness and the human relationship to the stars.

An open panel discussion will immediately follow the screening, led by associate professor of Architectural Engineering Kevin Houser and Senior Lecturer of Astronomy Chris Palma.

The screening is sponsored by Penn State’s Project CANDLE, Center for Sustainability and Astronomy Club.

To view a trailer of the film, visit


Last Updated November 29, 2011