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Faculty of Communication & Design
Katerina Cizek

Katerina Cizek


Canadian documentary Director



Canadian documentary director and a pioneer in digital documentaries is a distinguished visiting professor at FCAD'S School of Image Arts. 

Cizek was born in Waterloo, Ontario. She now lives in the Roncesvalles district in Toronto. Cizek has a degree in Anthropology from McGill University in Montreal and worked as an independent filmmaker before joining the National Film Board of Canada, where she worked as a filmmaker-in-residence. 

From 2008-2015, Cizek directed the National Film Board of Canada's Highrise series on life in residential skyscrapers, including the 2010 world's first 360 degree 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. 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.

Prior to working on Highrise, Cizek directed an NFB crossmedia documentary project about life inside Toronto‚Äôs St. Michael's Hospital. Called Filmmaker-in-Residence, it garnered a Webby Award for Best Documentary Series. 

She is currently heading up a new research and production initiative at MIT Open Documentary Lab. Cizek and NFB producer Gerry Flahive collaborated on academic research with urbanist Roger Kiel on how cities are changing, with the Global Suburbanisms program at York University. Cizek collaborated closely with an academic team at University of Toronto on the final iteration of Highrise, on a joint book and documentary project about Digital Citizenship in the Global Suburbs. Cizek is a long-time teacher at the annual ESoDoc workshops. She teaches new media approaches to documentary creation.



School of Image Arts