The Towers in the World • The World in the Towers

HIGHRISE explores vertical living in the global suburbs. It’s multi-year, many-media collaborative documentary experiment at the National Film Board of Canada, directed by Katerina Cizek, and produced by Gerry Flahive. Since its launch in 2009, HIGHRISE has generated many projects, including mixed media, interactive documentaries, mobile productions, live presentations, installations and films. Collectively, the projects — and the ones to come — have both shaped and realized the HIGHRISE vision: to see how the documentary process can drive and participate in social innovation rather than just to document it; and to help re-invent what it means to be an urban species in the 21st century.

HIGHRISE’s projects have received international acclaim including a 2013 Canadian Scree Award, the 2013 Canadian Urban Institute Urban Leadership Global City and Innovation Award, the 2011 International Digital Emmy for Non-Fiction, the 2010 Inaugural IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling, and the 2011 BakaForum Cross-Media Prize for Youth and Schools.

HIGHRISE Director Katerina Cizek is an Emmy-winning documentary-maker working across many media platforms. Her work has documented the Digital Revolution, and has itself become part of the movement. Recently, she was listed as Reelscreen’s 2011 Trailblazers in Non-Fiction, alongside Wim Wenders and the Channel 4 Commissioning Team. For five years, she was the National Film Board of Canada’s Filmmaker-in-Residence ( at an inner-city hospital, in a many-media project that won a 2008 Webby Award (“The Internet’s Oscars”), a Banff Award, and a Canadian New Media Award. Her previous award-winning films include Seeing is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights and the News (2002, co-directed with Peter Wintonick). She teaches and presents around the world about her innovative approach to the documentary genre.
NFB Senior Producer Gerry Flahive has worked on more than 70 films, such as award-winners Just Watch Me: Trudeau and the 70s Generation and Manufactured Landscapes. Recent projects include the groundbreaking St. Michael’s Hospital/Filmmaker-in-Residence project, the epic Great Lakes documentary, Waterlife, and Paris 1919, inspired by Margaret MacMillan’s bestseller. A frequent contributor to The Globe and Mail, Flahive has also been published in Time and The New York Times.
HIGHRISE Creative Associate Heather Frise was a key team member (co-director, editor, and associate producer) of the award-winning Filmmaker-in-Residence project. Alongside her documentary and teaching practice, Frise creates experimental video and is a visual artist.
Project Coordinator Paramita Nath has toured the world’s film festivals with her first short film FOUND, after premiering at TIFF in 2009. She is currently in post-production on a BRAVO!-funded experimental short, and in development on a feature-length documentary about the small arms trade.
Community Media Project Coordinator Maria-Saroja Ponnambalam completed her BFA in Film Production at York University. Her films include The Consequence of Rain, Pretty Little Bits and she is in post-production on a Canada Council-supported documentary.
HIGHRISE Web Design HELIOS Design Lab have been nominated for and won top international prizes for their art design and web development. Their client base includes Research in Motion and Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption.
HIGHRISE Technical Director and Post Supervisor Branden Bratuhin was a key team member of the Filmmaker-in-Residence project and freelances on documentaries, drama and digital design in Toronto.

Production Coordinator Rachel Punwassie • Studio Administrator Josiah Rothenberg • Publicist Jennifer Mair • Marketing Manager Tammy Peddle • Technical Supervisor Mark Wilson • Technical Support Marcus Matyas


Canada’s public film producer and distributor, the National Film Board of Canada creates social-issue documentaries, auteur animation, alternative drama and digital content that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. The NFB is expanding the vocabulary of 21st-century cinema and breaking new ground in form and content through community filmmaking projects, cross-platform media, programs for emerging filmmakers, stereoscopic animation – and more. It works in collaboration with creative filmmakers, digital media creators and co-producers in every region of Canada, with Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities, as well as partners around the world. Since the NFB’s founding in 1939, it has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. The NFB’s new website features almost 2,000 productions online, and its iPhone and iPad apps are among the most popular and talked about downloads. Visit today and start watching.