Carol Nahra speaks to two-time Emmy and Peabody-winning documentarian Katerina Cizek.
With her community-based and ground-breaking projects Highrise and Filmmaker-in-Residence at the National Film Board of Canada, Kat has received international acclaim and transformed the NFBC into a world leading digital-hub.
Highrise, a multi-year and many-media documentary experiment, explores vertical living in suburbs around the globe. Its aim is to investigate urban living in the 21st century and examines how the process of documentary making can steer and take part in social change rather than just documenting it. Kat’s work across various emergent digital platforms continues as artistic director and co-founder of the Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab. There, she published (with Uricchio et al.) the world’s first field study on co-creating media called Collective Wisdom.
Her earlier films and human rights documentaries supported criminal investigations, helped to change UN policies, and were also screened as evidence at an International Criminal Tribunal. Some of these films are Hampton-Prize winner Seeing is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights and the News (2002, co-directed with Peter Wintonick), In Search of the African Queen: A People Smuggling Operation (1999, co-director), and The Dead are Alive: Eyewitness in Rwanda (1995 editor, co-writer, narrator).