There are still opportunities to see this new feature documentary about light pollution and the disappearing night sky. The film leads viewers on a quest to understand how light pollution is affecting people and the planet. The film asks a simple question: what do we lose when we lose the night? Those who know Charlestown’s stars might ask what will Rhode Island lose if we lose the last beautiful oasis of dark along our Atlantic coast?

When: Thursday December 15 and Saturday December 17, both at 7p.m.
Where: Kettle Pond Visitors Center at Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge
50 Bend Road, Charlestown, Rhode Island
Film Trailer:

This is a free event, but please register for this event by sending an email to and note how many people will be attending and what showing you will be attending (December 15 showing or December 17 showing).

Frosty Drew Observatory presented the Rhode Island premier of THE CITY DARK to standing room only crowds on December 9.

After moving to New York City from rural Maine, filmmaker Ian Cheney asks a simple question, “Do we need the stars?” 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.


  • Neil deGrasse Tyson – Astrophysicist, Hayden Planetarium
  • Don Pettit – Astronaut, NASA
  • Ann Druyan – Co-writer, Cosmos
  • Jack Newton – Astrophotographer
  • Chris Impey – Cosmologist, University of Arizona
  • Jeffrey Kuhn – Astronomer, University of Hawai’i
  • Roger Ekirch – Historian, Virginia Tech
  • Jane Brox – Author, Brilliant
  • Bill Sharpe – Historian, Barnard College
  • Susan Elbin – Ornithologist
  • Dr. Steven Lockley – Professor, Harvard University
  • Dr. Richard Stevens – Epidemiologist, University of CT
  • Dr. George Brainard – Neurologist, University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. David Blask – Cellular Biologist, Tulane University
  • Jon Shane – Criminologist
  • Herve Descottes – Lighting Designer

– Awards –

  • Best Score/MusicSXSW Film Festival (Music by The Fisherman Three and Ben Fries)
  • Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature Environmental Film Festival at Yale
  • Best Professional DocumentaryReal to Reel Film Festival
  • Best DocumentaryHardacre Film Festival
  • Audience AwardKandy International Film Festival in Sri Lanka
  • Best in Show – Rappahannock Independent Film Festival in Fredericksburg, VA
  • Official SelectionSXSW, Mountainfilm in Telluride, Geek Film Festival, Indianapolis Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival, Maui International Film Festival, Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival, Independent Film Festival Boston, Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital

THE CITY DARK was brought to Charlestown in a cooperative effort of Frosty Drew and the Charlestown Planning Commission to bring attention to Charlestown’s dark skies and to build public support for their protection.

The Planning Commission has written a dark sky ordinance and hopes to inspire other neighboring communities to do the same.

“The dark skies above Charlestown was the principle reason for siting Frosty Drew Observatory in the Ninigret Park in 1989. Dark skies are almost nonexistent in the eastern United States. Reconnaissance photos show a light band from Florida well into Maine along the seacoast unbroken except for a single stretch centered on Charlestown Rhode Island. To find similarly dark skies elsewhere in New England you need to travel to the most rural northern regions of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine” (from the Frosty Drew website)

Here’s more information about THE CITY DARK