The dark side of Bright Nights

When the true night disappears, nature is threatened by artificial light

“Street-lights act like a vacuum cleaner”

Many organisms have found their evolutionary niche in the dark of night and must now adapt to brighter nights. Some succeed, but for many the brightness becomes a death trap – and causes species to diminish /go extinct. Worldwide, scientists and experts are researching the impact of light pollution and are working on solutions.
As part of a Citizen Science project, people are helping to catch, identify and count aquatic insects in Germany’s largest field experiment on light pollution. In still one of the darkest regions in all of Europe, the Wadden Sea, a worrying change in behavior among migratory birds has caught the attention of conservationists. Drilling platforms, ships and light smog however cause migratory birds to stray from their route.
In the forested Veluwe area Kamiel Spoelstra has been tracking how the wildlife community changes in the presence of different colors of light. His extensive data from over 10 years shows the hidden machinations of this slow and invisible threat. Meanwhile in Belgium Ruben Evens follows an animal that seemingly has benefited from these bright nights.
The film is a journey through the night and takes us along with scientists who try to understand light pollution to  restore natural darkness to nature and not least to mankind.

Link to the full film (German version)

Marco Polo Film AG


  • 44 min for 3SAT
  • 50 min International version 



Selected festivals

Green Screen Wildlife Filmfestival

Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam

Innsbruck Nature Film Festival


Matsalu Nature Film Festival

International Nature and Environmental Protection Festival


Green Screen Wildlife Film Festival

Innsbruck Nature Film Festival


“Lights off – night on”