FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT: KATERINA CIZEK - Documentary Podcast
DocHouse Conversations returns for a second series! Our host Carol Nahra will be talking to three filmmakers, the films which influenced them and more. Our guest for the next episode will be Katerina Cizek, a two-time Emmy and Peabody-winning documentarian working across emergent platforms. Kat is the artistic director and co-founder of the Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab where she has published (with Uricchio et al.) the world’s first field study on co-creating media called Collective Wisdom.
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 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).
In this episode, which will be released 12th January, Carol talks with Kat about the Highrise project and how it has impacted her career. They also look at a film which she admires and is close to her heart: Wintopia (2019). It’s a moving portrait of Kat’s friend and co-director of Seeing is Believing Peter Wintonick, made by his daughter Mira Burt-Wintonick.
For many years Peter Wintonick roamed the world, searching for Utopia, planning to make a film about his quest. When he died in 2013 at aged 60, his mourning daughter Mira began sorting through the 300 tapes he left behind. She decides to finish her father’s film, merging it with a portrait of the man himself. In doing so she probes the painful reality that while generously giving his time to the global documentary community, Peter deprived his wife and daughter of his presence for months on end.