Director of HIGHRISE, National Film Board of Canada
Katerina Cizek is an Emmy-winning documentary director working across many new and old media platforms. Her work has documented the Digital Revolution and has itself become part of the movement. At the National Film Board of Canada, she has helped redefine the organization as one of the world’s leading digital content hubs, first with the Webby-winning Filmmaker-in-Residence (2006) and now, with the Emmy-winning HIGHRISE. Cizek’s earlier human rights documentary film projects have instigated criminal investigations, changed UN policies, and have screened as evidence at an International Criminal Tribunal. Cizek’s films include the Hampton-Prize winner Seeing is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights and the News (2002, co-directed with Peter Wintonick).
Trailblazers, Technologies and Truth(s)
Documentarians have always been at the forefront of innovation in form and content, as William Uricchio has so eloquently highlighted with Moments of Innovation. My playlist pays tribute to the digital documentaries that have attempted technological and creative firsts in search of the “truth”—both big and small. I have been challenged, inspired, or humbled by all on this playlist. So here’s a big shoutout to all those makers and collaborators that cut the trails with new techniques, new ideas, or simply new computer code to get at that poetic documentary “truth.”
Powered by a video game engine, tablet app "CIA: Operation Ajax" marries the aesthetics of comics and cinema to create an interactive reading experience.
This riveting project introduced me to a whole new narrative space: cinema meets reading in the form of a graphic novel on a tablet.
For the National Film Board of Canada’s pioneering Filmmaker in Residence initiative, documentarian Katerina Cizek collaborated with doctors and patients to capture the stories of a Toronto hospital.
Our project from 2006, which we called the world's first feature-length documentary online. Thanks to our collaboration with Subject Matter (Loc Dao and Rob McLaughlin), this was the first Flash based digital documentary at the NFB.
A data visualization of plane flights in the United States during a 24-hour period.
This is the project that made me realize data can be beautiful, and can tell stories too.
"Gaza/Sderot" documents human resilience by capturing stories from neighboring cities Gaza and Sderot, each on different sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Alexandre Brachet and Upian showing the world that navigation IS narrative.
In "Highrise: One Millionth Tower," filmmaker Katerina Cizek, the residents of a Toronto apartment building, and a group of architects used webGL to reimagine a residential highrise, creating an interactive documentary that captured their aspirations for the community.
Our project from 2011, working with Helios Design Lab (Mike Robbins) and Mozilla Foundation, this is the world's first webGL documentary, in which we equate participatory city building with open source web building, by building an in-browser open source 3D world.
In the Emmy Award-winning web documentary "Out My Window," filmmaker Katerina Cizek explores highrise living around the world.
Our flash-based, documentary, featuring 360-degree photography and video, first-person narrative and directed over skype, facebook, email and the phone with local teams around the world.
A crowdsourced music video, "The Johnny Cash Project" pays tribute to the iconic Man in Black.
The power and beauty of crowdsourced frame-by-frame animation. Shows the world that collective collaborative work can also have a strong sense of authorship.
Participatory project "Man with a Movie Camera: Global Remake" celebrates the work of avante garde Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov.
Live performance, crowdsource imagery and a tribute to kino-eye. Mind-blowing.
"Question Bridge: Black Males" facilitates conversations within the African American male community across political, class, geographic, and generational divisions.
Powerful and provocative trailblazers give us a very consensual and non-voyeuristic access to conversations and debates and a multitude of points-of-view. This project re-invents the conversational nature of narrative and notions of participation in radical, important ways.
A backcountry ski trip turns deadly when a group of expert skiers are overtaken by an avalanche.
Journalism meets the scroll. Kudos to the NYTimes Jacky Myint for this masterfully simple design that has changed the nature of #longform reading on the web.
An immersive 360° video recreation of the D-Day invasion featuring dozens of interviews with Canadian veterans.
First great use of 3D rendered space to embody story.
A nine-day whale hunt in northern Alaska is told through a large, interactive photo mosaic.
The re-invention of photography online. How huge volumes of still photos can go to a narrative space and point-of-view somewhere beyond "motion picture."
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