Katerina Cizek (born 1969) is a Canadian documentary filmmaker and web creator.
As of 2011, Cizek is currently directing the National Film Board of Canada's Highrise series on life in residential skyscrapers, including the 2010 web documentary Out My Window, winner of the inaugural IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and an International Digital Emmy for best digital program: non-fiction, and the 2011 webdoc One Millionth Tower, which lets users explore a highrise complex in 3D virtual space, as Toronto residents re-imagine their neighborhood.
Until mid-2014, Cizek will collaborate with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenDocLab unit to develop the next production in the Highrise project. As part of MIT’s Visiting Artists Program, she will work with scholars and apartment residents to ask how new technological forms are reshaping personal lives in suburban high-rise communities.
A Short History of the Highrise is an interactive documentary that "explores the 2,500-year global history of vertical living and issues of social equality in an increasingly urbanized world." The centerpiece of the project is four short films by Cizek—Mud, Concrete and Glass—with images culled from The New York Times's visual archives, that are "intended to evoke a chapter in a storybook, with rhyming narration and photographs brought to life with intricate animation." The fourth short film, Home, is being made with user-submitted images. The interactive site will incorporate the films and also offer additional archival materials, text and microgames. It premiered as part of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s New York Film Festival Convergence program on September 30, 2013 and online at NYTimes.com in October. In April 2014, Cizek received a Peabody Award for A Short History of the Highrise, followed by a News & Documentary Emmy Award in the fall of 2014.
Prior to working on Highrise, Cizek directed an NFB crossmedia documentary project about life inside Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital. Called Filmmaker-in-Residence, it garnered a Webby Award for Best Documentary Series.
Prior to joining the NFB, her films included Seeing is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights and the News, co-directed with Peter Wintonick.
Research and teaching
Cizek and NFB producer Gerry Flahive are also collaborating on academic research with urbanist Roger Kiel on how cities are changing, with the Global Suburbanisms program at York University. Cizek also teaches new media approaches to documentary creation.
Cizek was born in Waterloo, Ontario. The daughter of Czech immigrants, she now lives in the Roncesvalles district in Toronto. Cizek studied anthropology at McGill University in Montreal and worked as an independent filmmaker before joining the National Film Board of Canada, where she works as a filmmaker-in-residence. Her father Jiří Čížek taught quantum physics at the University of Waterloo. He is known for introducing Coupled cluster theory.
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- J. Čížek, On the Correlation Problem in Atomic and Molecular Systems. Calculation of Wavefunction Components in Ursell-Type Expansion Using Quantum-Field Theoretical Methods, The Journal of Chemical Physics 45, 50 (1966)
- Katerina Cizek on Twitter
- Watch films by Katerina Cizek at the National Film Board of Canada
- Interview with Katerina Cizek, Digital Media Architecture Urbanism, Amsterdam
- Katerina Cizek, Visiting Artists Program, MIT