Ian Cheney is an Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker. He grew up in New England and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University. After graduate school, Ian co-created, co-produced and starred in the feature documentary KING CORN, which was released theatrically in 60 cities and awarded a George Foster Peabody Award in 2009. Ian subsequently directed the feature documentary THE GREENING OF SOUTHIE, featured in The New Yorker and on Good Morning America; TRUCK FARM, the story of urban agriculture in New York City; THE CITY DARK, a feature documentary about light pollution and the disappearing night; and THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO, a feature documentary about American Chinese food. His most recent film, BLUESPACE, explores the terraforming of Mars and the waterways of New York City.
He is a co-founder of FoodCorps, a nationwide public service organization. In 2011 he and longtime collaborator Curt Ellis were awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for their work in sustainability. In 2014-2015, Ian was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. A visiting professor at the Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche and a Lecturer at Yale College, Ian travels frequently to show his films, lead workshops, and give talks about the human relationship to the natural world.
Our House in Space: The “environment” is just another word for our home in outer space. Growing up in America today, it’s easy to take our home for granted: water pours from the tap, energy flows from the sockets, and calories cost pennies at the corner store. With more and more of us living in cities, fewer and fewer of us understand where our “things” come from, and this disconnect lies at the heart of our problematic relationship with the natural world. When we cannot see the farms that supply our food, the forests that build our cities, or the stars above our heads, the natural world becomes more an idea than a reality.
In a lively, humorous, multimedia presentation, Ian Cheney leads audiences behind the scenes of the feature films King Corn and The Greening Of Southie, showing how the more we know about the sources of our sustenance, the better prepared we are as consumers, voters, and citizens. Emphasizing the importance of everyday choices, Ian asserts that reconnecting to the natural world is a necessary prerequisite for environmental sustainability. And whether it’s growing food in the back of your pickup truck or just reading a soda label more closely, there are myriad ways forward that enrich our lives, power our economy, and rebuild our house in space.
TEDxManhattan talk: Truck Farm