Thursday, May 30, 2013

NFB & MIT Team Up to Explore Interactive Media

From a media release:

NFB filmmaker Katerina Cizek named Visiting Artist
at Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Toronto -
In a first-ever collaboration between two pioneering interactive media organizations, National Film Board of Canada (NFB) documentarian Katerina Cizek will be working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OpenDocLab to develop the next production in the NFB's multi-award-winning HIGHRISE documentary project, a multi-year, multimedia, collaborative documentary experiment that explores the human experience in global vertical suburbs.

Cizek begins work with the OpenDocLab team this fall, as part of MIT¡¯s Visiting Artists Program.

It's an unprecedented collaboration between the NFB, a world leader in interactive non-fiction production, and MIT OpenDocLab, which brings technologists, storytellers and scholars together to advance the new arts of documentary.

This joint project grew out of discussions between HIGHRISE producer Gerry Flahive of the NFB, Prof. William Uricchio, principal investigator of MIT OpenDocLab, and Sarah Wolozin, OpenDocLab director, on how their organizations could pool their creative talents to explore new ways of telling stories and harness the NFB's expertise in taking an artistic approach to new communications technologies.

Cizek will work with scholars and apartment residents to ask how new technological forms are reshaping the personal lives of residents in an understudied but iconic space of the global city: the suburban high-rise community. Cizek's work at MIT is slated to wrap in mid-2014.

"We are thrilled that Kat Cizek will be joining us. It will be interesting to see how MIT's research informs Kat's storytelling and the HIGHRISE project, and vice versa. This residency will give Kat and our researchers the time to explore the potential of new technologies and methodologies to enable participatory and data-driven storytelling. We look forward to a rich exchange," said Sarah Wolozin.

HIGHRISE has garnered some of the Web's highest honours, including an International Digital Emmy Award for Digital Program: Non-fiction, and the inaugural IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling from the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, for the webdoc Out My Window. HIGHRISE is also currently collaborating with The New York Times and its Op-Docs section¨Da forum for short POV documentaries¨Don the multi-platform project A Short History of the Highrise, premiering later this year at and

About MIT's Visiting Artists Program
The arts have been an integral part of MIT since the 1960s. The Visiting Artists Program brings internationally acclaimed artists to engage with MIT¡¯s creative community in ways that are mutually enlightening for the artists and faculty, students and research staff at the Institute. The program has sponsored visits by Tomas Saraceno, Vik Muniz, Gustavo Dudamel, Trevor Paglen, Cai Guo-Qiang, Junot Diaz, Jason Moran and Bill Viola. In this series, the Visiting Artists Program offers a rich exchange of ideas, problem-solving and creative dialogues within the community.

About MIT Open Documentary Lab
MIT's Open Documentary Lab brings technologists, storytellers and scholars together to advance the new arts of documentary. Drawing on MIT's legacy of media innovation and its deep commitment to open and accessible information, the Open Documentary Lab is a place of generative dialogue between media makers, technologists and scholars. By participating in Lab activities, visiting artists and aspiring media makers not only explore the potential of new technologies, they collaborate with MIT researchers to shape the storytelling practices of the future.

About the NFB
The National Film Board of Canada creates groundbreaking interactive works, social-issue documentaries and auteur animation. The NFB's award-winning content can be seen at and on apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV. Canada's public producer and distributor since 1939, the NFB has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 7 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies.

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