Dark Days is a documentary made by Marc Singer, a British filmmaker. The film follows a group of people living in an abandoned section of the New York City underground railway system, more precisely the area of the so-called Freedom Tunnel.
Singer had befriended many in New York’s homeless community and after hearing of people living underground in abandoned tunnel systems, he met and became close to a group of people living in The Freedom Tunnel community stretching north from Penn Station past Harlem.
After living with them for a number of months, he decided to create a documentary in order to help them financially. Singer had never been a filmmaker before, and saw the production of Dark Days as a means of gaining better accommodation for the residents of the tunnel.
The film’s crew consisted of the subjects themselves, who rigged up makeshift lighting and steadicam dollies, and learned to use a 16mm camera with black-and-white Kodak film. The post-production process took years, as financial difficulties created delays, as did Singer’s insistence of creative control to protect the tunnel residents.
The film features music by DJ Shadow, including excerpts from Endtroducing….. as well as his album with U.N.K.L.E. He also composed original music for the ‘Main Theme’ of the film, released on the single “Dark Days”.
Dark Days was released in 2000, and was nominated for several film festival awards. The film won many of these, including the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary/Non-fiction film at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, Senior Programmer’s Pick at the SXSW Film Festival Awards, and three Sundance Film Festival awards in 2000: the Audience Award for best documentary, the cinematography award for documentary, and the Freedom of Expression Award.
DARK DAYS (UK, 2000, 94 min, English subtitles)
Doors open: 19:00
Film starts: 20:00