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Award-winning documentary filmmaker comes to CCU

April 26, 2013

Filmmaker and amateur astronomer Ian Cheney will take viewers on a quest to understand how light pollution affects people and the planet with a screening of his 2011 documentary "The City Dark" on Monday, April 29, at 7 p.m. in the James J. Johnson Auditorium at Coastal Carolina University. The event, part of the Nancy A. Smith Distinguished Visitors Series, is free and open to the public.

The blends science with personal, meditative sequences, reflect on the human relationship to the sky. The film joins a troop of Manhattan Boy Scouts on their first night of stargazing outside the city; explores the threat of killer asteroids in Hawaii; tracks hatching sea turtles along the Florida coast; and captures the rescue of injured birds on Chicago streets. Throughout the film, Cheney attempts to unravel the implications of a globe glittering with countless lights -- including increased breast cancer rates from exposure to light at night and a generation of kids who grow up without a glimpse of the universe above. Viewers meet city planners and lighting designers who try to balance the human love of light with our need for darkness, our love of the starry skies and our desire to cut energy costs with more efficient designs.

Cheney grew up in New England, where he built his own six-inch Newtonian telescope and began photographing the stars at age 15. After earning bachelor's and master's degrees from Yale, Cheney co-created and starred in "King Corn," a 2007 documentary about his efforts to grow and farm an acre of corn. The film won the 2008 Peabody Award for Excellence in Electronic Media.

He also directed the 2009 documentary "The Greening of Southie," about Boston's first green building, and "Truck Farm," a musical documentary that explores the future of urban agriculture and sustainability. In 2011, Cheney and longtime collaborator Curt Ellis received the Heinz Award for their work in sustainability and environmental advocacy.

Cheney is a co-founder of Wicked Delicate, a Brooklyn-based film production company and advocacy project.

For more information, email Dan Albergotti, professor of English at CCU, at