Today at SXSW, HIGHRISE is proud to announce a new collaborative project with The New York Times. It’s an interactive documentary series, called A SHORT HISTORY OF THE HIGHRISE.
It all began last year, when HIGHRISE was approached by Jason Springarn-Koff, the commissioning editor of theNYT Op-Docs section, a remarkable new forum at the paper for short, opinionated point-of-view documentaries.
Jason’s idea was that we might do to something about highrises in the city of highrises – New York City. Meanwhile, we at HIGHRISE had always wanted to do a “short history of the highrise” around the world. So when Jason offered to open up the NYT undigitized photo archives (a collection of 5-6 million photographs) to us, Gerry, the HIGHRISE Senior Producer, and I were really intrigued by this incredible opportunity for deep collaboration.
I spent a week in the archives, affectionately known as “The Morgue.” It’s 3 floors underground below Times Square — no cell phone connection, no internet down there, time warp to circa 1995 — with the formidable archivist Jeff Roth. Jeff pulled thousands of photographs for me in file folders organized by, um, building names. Many of these stunning images, portraying the triumphalist rise of the city in the 20th century, have not been seen for decades.
I pulled over 500 photographs, and over the next several months, began assembling a series of (very) short films, spanning 2,000 years of human high-rise history. We are supplementing the collection with additional visual research by the crackerjack team of Elizabeth Klinck and Jivan Nagra.
Above, the “Morgue” and my library cart of file folders of photos.
And, we are thrilled to have the ace team at Helios Design Lab as our animators on this project.
There’s a whole other aspect to this: The New York Times social media department is putting out a call for submissions from the paper’s readers, who can submit their own photos depicting their lives and experiences in and around high-rises from around the world. From these images, we’ll create the final chapter of our whirlwind tour of the highrise history. Upload your photos here
Last but certainly not least, we are also working with the New York Times interactive team to build the whole thing as an interactive cinema experience. Extremely exciting.
We at HIGHRISE just screened our documentary One Millionth Tower outdoors, at a festival celebrating another highrise neighbourhood. In One Millionth Tower, highrise residents re-imagine their neighbourhood by working with architects to illustrate what’s possible in the bleak space around their buildings.
Four residents from this HIGHRISE project crossed from west-side Etobicoke, over Toronto, to the east-side suburb of Scarborough and presented at the 3rd annual Bridging Festival. It’s called that, because in its first two years, the festival was held under a local bridge that divides the community.
“The original concept of the festival three years ago was to reconnect the community, as people felt uncomfortable crossing the bridge,” explains Tim Whalley, Executive Director of Scarborough Arts, “The idea of the festival was to turn the bridge, which was considered a barrier, back into a bridge.”
This year, the festival moved to the nearby The Scarborough Storefront, possibly one of the most remarkable community organizations I have ever known.
You might remember the Scarborough Storefront, which I visited at the very beginning of our HIGHRISE project, and featured in our Prologue. The Storefront is a collection of agencies organized in a “hub” model: they share space, staffing and administration to bring in as many opportunities as possible under one roof to a severely service-deprived neighbourhood. It’s located in a former police station.
It’s only 1 kilometre away from a last month’s tragic shooting, which killed 2 people and injured 20.
“The Storefront has now become a hub for discussion how to heal from those events,” said Whalley.
Our One Millionth Tower screening was held in the parking lot of The Storefront, with a highrise towering over us.
The One Millionth Tower residents Ob, Faith (with her daughter Tashana), Jamal and Priti had a picnic lunch in the Storefront’s community garden before the screening.
Jamal rehearsed in the garden before going on stage with his sax. His stagename, btw, is J-Smooth.
Priti admired the pumpkins growing on the fence.
J-Smooth inspired the crowd with his musical improvisations.
After the screening, we talked with some of the local residents, many of whom live in the highrise directly behind the Storefront.
Zena, from the 11th floor, said she could imagine many of the ideas in the film in her own neighbourhood.
“I recognize Etobicoke in the film right away,” said Slim, from the 10th floor, “because we used to live there. These two areas are similar, because Etobicoke has many people from India, and here its Sri Lankan. But over there, its full of nature. I used to see deer, rabbits, snakes, fish and birds. Here I see only raccoons.”
Both Zena and Slim come to the Storefront regularly to use the internet. Until this weekend, they had to walk all the way around an entire block, because of a fence between their highrise and the community centre, even though the two buildings back directly onto one another.
But from now on, the buildings and people are more connected: this year’s Bridging Festival featured a ceremonial “fence tear down” – the fence between the buildings has been removed.
Not surprisingly, Graeme Stewart, the Tower Renewal architect involved in HIGHRISE and One Millionth Tower, is involved in this project!
At the end of the evening, Marcia, who lives in another highrise down the street, approached the One Millionth Tower residents and told Faith that she was considering moving out of the neighbourhood because of the recent violence.
“We need to come together and share and learn from one another,” said Faith.
“Power comes in numbers,” Marcia agreed, and concluded by saying she wouldn’t leave the neighbourhood for one main reason: the Scarborough Storefront.
November 05, 2011
WORLD LAUNCH AT WIRED.COM
So happy to announce that the new HIGHRISE documentary is now LAUNCHED on the web, for all the world to see for free, currently at the prestigious technology online publication,WIRED.COM.
We will be bringing it to highrise.nfb.ca on Monday Nov 7, mid-day. Meanwhile, this weekend, the HIGHRISE team is participating with the new documentary in a series of live events in London U.K., at the awesome Mozilla Festival, “Media, Freedom and the Web.”
One Millionth Tower is the result of unique collaboration between apartment residents, architects, animators, filmmakers and web developers to re-envision what a declining highrise neighbourhood could be. Through a close collaboration with the Mozilla Foundation – Mozilla, developer of the open source Firefox browser and a pioneer in promoting openness, innovation and opportunity on the web, the HIGHRISE team has created a lush visual story unfolding in a 3D virtual environment. Visitors to the online documentary can explore how participatory urban design can transform spaces, places and minds.
One Millionth Tower re-imagines a universal thread of our global urban fabric — the dilapidated highrise neighbourhood. More than one billion of us live in vertical homes, most of which are falling into disrepair. Highrise residents, together with architects, re-envision their vertical neighbourhood, and animators and web programmers bring their sketches to life in this documentary for the contemporary web browser — one of the world’s first HTML5/webGL documentaries. And it’s got music by Jim Guthrie and Owen Pallett.
Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, says One Millionth Tower ”is a prime example of the work we are doing together to empower makers and build tools that anyone can use to make awesome things happen — on the Web and in the world. It’s a testament to how we are building a better Web together.”
One Millionth Tower places you in the three-dimensional world of a run-down highrise neighbourhood, where, if you access it with a webGL enabled computer, you can interact with the environment and see it re-imagined as a lively, flourishing community. (If you do not have a webGL enabled system, you can still watch a non-interactive video capture of the documentary play out in a virtual 3D space.)
Additional features include:
• a behind-the-scenes documentary about the collaborative process behind One Millionth Tower
• a short documentary featuring international examples of tower revitalization
• a short documentary exploring the open technology used to create the project
and a spectacular interactive feature that takes you to highrise neighbourhoods in more than 200 countries in the world, thanks to Google Streetview and satellite imagery. It’s based on our own original research to find and understand highrise communities around the globe. Visitors can submit their own highrise tower to be included in this unique visual database.
One Millionth Tower is a story with global implications about how, with the power of imagination, we can transform the urban and virtual spaces that belong to all of us.
The team behind One Millionth Tower includes director Kat Cizek, Senior Producer Gerry Flahive, 3D Creative Technologist, Mike Robbins (for Helios Design), Music Jim Guthrie, Owen Pallett, Animators Lillian Chan, Howie Shia, Kelly Sommerfeld, Technical Director Branden Bratuhin, Associate Producer Sarah Arruda, Community Media Project Lead And Creative Associate Heather Frise, Community Media Liaison Maria-Saroja Ponnambalam, Highrise Residents Ob, Faith, Priti, Jamal and Donna, Lead Architect Graeme Stewart (for E.R.A. Architects), Executive Producer Silva Basmajian and many more.
Our previous HIGHRISE project, OUT MY WINDOW, won a Digital Emmy Award, IDFA’s first-ever Digital Storytelling Award, and many other international prizes.
October 11, 2011
FIRST GLIMPSE OF NEW HIGHRISE PROJECT
What we’ve all been waiting for. To share with you the first glimpse (a trailer) of our new documentary project, One Millionth Tower.
ONE MILLIONth TOWER (we call it 1MT for short)
Over a billion of us live in highrises, and most are falling into disrepair. In One Millionth Tower, a group of highrise residents, together with architects, re-envisions their vertical homes, then animators & computer programmers magically bring their sketches to life in this documentary for the contemporary web-browser.
The result of this unique collaboration is a lush, visual story unfolding in a 3D virtual environment. Visitors explore how participatory urban design can transform spaces, places and minds.
One Millionth Tower will be the world’s first HTML5/webGL documentary, powered byPOPCORN, created by our good friends at Mozilla. Mozilla has been deeply supportive of our project, offering us extensive technological and philosophical support, as they lead the global open-source charge in the bridging of cinema with the web, under the helm of Brett Gaylor (RIP Manifesto). (An interesting nerd HIGHRISE fact: Bobby Richter, the programmer behind the wizardry of HIGHRISE/Out My Window, now works on the Popcorn project at Mozilla! It is a small HIGHRISE world after all).
One Millionth Tower is engineered by the wickedly talented Mike Robbins, of HELIOS DESIGN LAB, whom we are honoured to call the HIGHRISE house band. Mike single-handedly crafted an entire virtual 3D world with his own two hands. Talk about DIY. Speaks to his genius — and the power of these new open-source libraries. The open-source world you will visit in 1MT might have taken a small army of programmers to create in proprietary software.
The actual story and images of 1MT came about through a highly collaborative process. Highrise residents. Architects. Documentarians. Animators. Drawing, imagining together. Many many hands came together to create the delightful, inspirational world of 1MT. We consider the story *hyper-global.* Deeply connected to a very specific HIGHRISE place in suburban toronto, but with global resonance in its vision for a more human-friendly urban planet — and world-wde web. It’s the HIGHRISE re-imagined. The web re-imagined.
Be the first to know when we release this highly-anticipated open-source documentary, by subscribing to this blog in the top right hand column on this page.
Also, read more background on this unique collaboration here and here.
It’s the HIGHRISE summer of transformation - in virtual as well as in physical space. This month, as the HIGHRISE team toils away on computers building our new HTML5 documentary set in a virtual landscape, on the physical HIGHRISE site, there’s also some “real” building going on: new outdoor play-spaces for families and children.
Our HTML5 documentary, One Millionth Tower (formerly known as the 2000th Tower), re-imagines a dilapidated HIGHRISE neighbourhood in a Toronto suburb. But the story and space could be almost anywhere, as global modernist highrise buildings, the most commonly built form of the last century, are aging and falling into disrepair, all over the planet. it’s a hyper-local story with global relevance. (maybe its hyper-glocal?)
In our story, HIGHRISE residents join forces with architects to envision a more human-friendly environment around their vertical homes. Then the magic of animation and cutting edge open-source technology, brings their drawings to life in a virtual 3D space on the web.
Meanwhile, on the ground, at the site of the real HIGHRISE, on which our 3d virtual space is modeled, lots is in the works physically too. It’s all fueled by the momentum of our two current projects there (One Millionth Tower and the recent Digital Citizenship Survey) but mostly by the force of incredibly committed residents,E.R.A. architects, the United Way, the City of Toronto (both Tower Renewal and Children’s Services) as well as the property manager.
Last weekend, all parties got together to construct 6 picnic tables for the site. it’s a small, low-cost but important first step towards transforming the outdoor space around the buildings.
Architects from ERA join forces with residents to build picnic tables.
Recently moved in resident Salam Younan, 47, was coming home from a night shift at a local furniture factory, when he saw all the picnic table commotion. He pitched in and stayed most of the day to contribute his carpentry skills. Trained as plumber back home in Iraq, Salam has been living in the building only 2 months, but said “I will do anything to help all the people who live here.” A growing community of Iraqi Christians is moving into the buildings, many are U.N. sponsored refugees.
Faith, long-time resident and One Millionth Tower collaborator, face-paints during picnic table event.
The mood was jubilant for another reason. The residents have just been granted a brand new playground from the American non-profit, KaBoom. The new playground will be built in a day (August 18th) by hundreds of volunteers from across the city, as well as a team of residents.
KaBoom’s mission, according to their website, is to address “The Play Deficit. Our children are playing less than any previous generation, and this lack of play is causing them profound physical, intellectual, social, and emotional harm. The Play Deficit is an important problem, and it is imperative that we solve it to ensure our children have long, healthy, and happy lives.”
“It’s a gift that’s fallen from the sky,”said Eleanor, a long time resident and social animator at the United Way’s ANC community engagement office, located in the building.
But the residents have been working hard towards this moment. In the last months, they’ve been mobilizing around the need for a playground. The old playground equipment, nearly 40 years old, was rusting and dangerous.
One of two old playground sites at the highrise.
Two months ago, in an historic meeting between residents and the property manager, everyone agreed to take down the old equipment, and to move towards realizing some of the ideas presented in One Millionth Tower, starting with play-space.
Around that time, we were also conducting the HIGHRISE Digital Citizenship Survey, which revealed astounding statistics about the demographics of the 2 buildings. We discovered that over 50% of the people at the two highrises are under the age of 20. And that 25% are under 10 years of age.
The numbers were telling us what all the residents already knew: hundreds and hundreds of kids with nowhere to play.
Kids shelter from the heatwave, under a makeshift clubhouse, above the highrise parking lot.
If all goes well, virtual and physical interventions, all powered by imagination, will change the space in the coming months and years, and perhaps inspire other cities to do the same with their highrises, the most commonly built architectural form in the last century.
One Millionth Tower, an HTML5 documentary set in a virtual landscape, will be launched in the Fall.
illustration from One Millionth Tower, by Lillian Chan, Howie Shia and Kelly
picnic table build photo, courtesy United Way
Salam builds a table, by Kat Cizek
Faith facepaints, by Kat Cizek
Old Playground, by Jamie Hogge
Makeshift Clubhouse, by Kat Cizek
May 18, 2011
HIGHRISE on BIG SCREENS
It’s been a busy week at HIGHRISE, with two exciting public projections.
In Montreal, to a packed audience at the gorgeous L’Astral theatre, I had the honour of “performing” HIGHRISE/Out My Window accompanied by 3 musicians, playing a live, improvised score. Sam Shalabi on oud, electronic guitar and electronics, Alexandre St-Onge on electric bass, upright bass and electrionics, and Will Eizlini on tabala and electronics. A magical evening, all part of the DNA Symposium at Concordia University, which was a heady mix of academics and practitioners, all discussing the intersection of Database, Narrative and Archives in the context of computer-generated story-telling. Thanks to the DNA team, and esp professors Monika Kin Gagnon and Matt Soar for creating this space for us.
Meanwhile, in Toronto…
…My colleagues represented HIGHRISE at the awesome annual Toronto the Good Party(put on by our partners and friends ERA Architects, Spacing Magazine and others). Technical Director Branden Bratuhin, Associate Producer Sarah Arruda, and Project Coordinator Paramita Nath talked all things HIGHRISE with good torontonians. They also gave a sneak peak (projected on the hallowed halls of Hart House) of our new project, One Millionth Tower, which we are describing for now, as a spacial film/web experience, built in HTML5 by Helios, popcorn provided by Mozilla Foundation.
We will be releasing a video documentary of the Montreal performance, and we’ll be telling you more about One Millionth Tower soon, so watch this space in coming weeks.
Montreal performance by David Dufresne, duflab.com
Out My Window out DNA’s window, courtesy of DNA Symposium
Toronto the Good Party, by Paramita Nath
May 04, 2011
UPDATE FROM CHICAGO’S HIGHRISE DEMOLITION
As the last of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green highrises comes down this month, we catch up with David Schalliol, the photographer and interviewer who brought us the moving story from Chicago for HIGHRISE/Out My Window.
“The Chicago portion of HIGHRISE/Out My Window tells the story of Donna and Brittany, a mother and daughter who are wrestling with an uncertain future in Cabrini Green, the city’s last highrise family public housing development. When interviewed at the end of 2009, their only certainty was their building was to be demolished sometime soon. They were going to have to find another place to live after a lifetime in the community. They were issued emergency eviction notices in May 2010 and moved to a housing development on the South Side less than a month later. Their old building, the second-to-last remaining high-rise, was already undergoing demolition preparation work.
Now the demolition of the last Cabrini-Green high-rise is currently under way. More media attention than usual has been trained on the neighborhood, and for the first time in decades, the stories are less about crime and more about community. There is some recognition that what is happening in this near North Side neighborhood is significant, at least for community members.
When former residents turned out to say farewell to the last building on the eve of the demolition, video cameras were rolling, and TheBrigade Stamps performance was cut in with footage of people saying goodbye to their former neighborhood. The last high-rise would soon be gone.
One surprising story has been about Project Cabrini Green, an art installation that arose out of a collaboration with Chicago artists, arts organizations and Cabrini-Green youth. The project installed 134 blinking lights in the building that represent poems written by area children. Every night, the lights blink in conversation as the building is slowly erased by the demolition team.
Despite the increased media attention, at least one significant element of the demolition has been underappreciated. Many of the Chicago Housing Authority’s developments have been located in high-visibility locations. They’ve loomed over highways, hugged sports arenas, and in the case of Cabrini Green, been a short walk from the Magnificent Mile and the Gold Coast, the city’s most fashionable shopping and residential districts.
With each daily commute, trip to the store or opportunity to cheer on the city’s athletic heros, the highrises of the Chicago Housing Authority were a physical reminder of the stark inequalities in one of the United States’ most segregated cities.
CHA residents are much less visible now. For the few who will live in new mixed-income developments, which place CHA residents side-by-side with those paying market-rates or receiving more limited subsidies, integrated poverty will become a new fact of life. But for now, many Cabrini-Green residents are moving into communities that are located farther from the city’s centers of power and into communities with residents who share many of the residents’ demographic characteristics.
When the last Cabrini highrise is demolished, there is a real possibility that they will be out of sight and out of mind, forgotten by those who will likely never live in subsidized housing. Community groups and politicians will continue to wrestle with issues of public housing, but many Chicagoans won’t be reminded by the high-rises any longer.
Far from the Magnificent Mile, Donna’s family is now settled in their new home. Like so many of the remaining CHA buildings, it is a lowrise.”
February 09, 2011
elevators * highrises * cities
Elevator design by the German engineer Konrad Kyeser (1405)
Last post, I mentioned the dire condition of elevators in Toronto’s aging highrises. (The United Way, a non-profit agency, is urging the city to create a Taskforce to address elevators.)
This got me thinking about the relationship between elevators and highrises.
“Tall buildings became possible in the 19th century, when American innovators solved the twin problems of safely moving people up and down and creating tall buildings without enormously thick lower walls,” according to Edward Glaeser, author of Triumph of the City, excerpted in the March 2011 issue of the Atlantic Monthly.
But actually, the first mention of elevators in recorded history goes back over 2,000 years, when Roman architect Vitruvius, who reported that Archimedes built his first elevator probably in 236 BC. There are reports of elevators throughout the medieval ages, but the inventor of the modern elevator was American Elisha Otis, as he invented the safety brake for presented it in 1854 at New York’s Crystal Palace Exposition.
So “good highrises” rely on good elevators, and according to Glaeser, good cities rely on good highrises, as he argues that the “skyscaper can save the city”.
“Besides making cities more affordable and architecturally interesting, tall buildings are greener than sprawl, and they foster social capital and creativity.” he asserts in the Atlantic Monthly. “Yet some urban planners and preservationists seem to have a misplaced fear of heights that yields damaging restrictions on how tall a building can be. From New York to Paris to Mumbai, there’s a powerful case for building up, not out.”
And we take this argument further, along the lines of Doug Saunder’s phenomenal book Arrival City, that “good cities” can make a better planet. “Successful arrival cities create prosperous middle classes; failed arrival cities create poverty and social problems,” and Saunders urges us “to see the opportunity of these arrival cities. By providing citizenship, a chance to own property, education, transportation links, and good security, cities like Sao Paulo in Brazil, or Parla in Spain, local and national governments have succeeded in successfully integrating their migrants.”
It’s an argument for fixing the elevators.
January 20, 2011
POVERTY IS VERTICAL – and the elevators are terrible
Toronto’s poverty is increasingly vertical according to a landmark United Way study, published last week.
(In the context of the report’s release, I am interviewed about HIGHRISE in this week’s issue of Eye Weekly.)
The United Way report says “Poverty by Postal Code 2: Vertical Poverty presents new data on the growing concentration of poverty in the City of Toronto and the role that high-rise housing is playing in this trend. The report tracks the continued growth in the spatial concentration of poverty in Toronto neighbourhoods, and in high-rise buildings within neighbourhoods. It then examines the quality of life that high-rise buildings are providing to tenants today. Its primary focus is on privately owned building stock in Toronto’s inner suburbs.” The report is downloadable here.
The first part of the study looks at the last 25 years of census data to track the concentration of poverty in the inner suburbs, and in particular, highrise buildings. The study shows that while incomes have declined, rents have increased since 1981. ”
“As a result of this “squeeze” on incomes and rents, close to half of the tenants surveyed say they worry about paying the rent each month. Another third say their families do without necessities, including food. Highrises also became more densely populated during this time with the percentage of units housing more than one person per room doubling.”
According to a front page story in The Toronto Star, “The report, believed to be the first of its kind in Canada… calls on the public, private and charitable sectors to properly maintain highrise housing and provide community space and programs for tenants. With demand for rental housing in Toronto predicted to grow by another 20 per cent by 2031, action is urgently needed, the report warns.”
The second part of the study gives a snapshot of current housing conditions in the 1,000+ highrises in Toronto. United Way surveyed 2,803 highrise tenants in the city’s inner suburbs, and conducted a series of focus groups.
The results do not surprise anyone who has spent any time recently in a Toronto suburban highrise. One key finding of special note to us at HIGHRISE relates to elevators.
“[T]heir elevators are so unreliable that a United Way report … calls for a task force specifically targeting their repair. Thousands of interviews with residents indicate these buildings have grown notorious for vermin and vandalism,” notes The Globe and Mail.
Elevators were the focus of one of Jamal’s stories in our own HIGHRISE documentary last year, called THE THOUSANDTH TOWER. This is what Jamal had to say about his highrise experience with elevators:
JAMAL: “Growing up in Rexdale has been a challenge. I saw a lot at the age of 7, my first year living here. From what I can remember, the building has always been decrepit. The elevator would skip floors, jumping and jolting, moving up and down. I used to wonder if we would survive if the elevator dropped from the 13th floor to B2. I was so terrified when my family went in there. I had disturbing thoughts that they wouldn’t come out. To this day, I’m scared of the elevator.”
The United Way Report makes 26 recommendations, including:
* The City of Toronto continue to take a dedicated program approach to revitalizing the social and physical conditions of aging high-rise apartment buildings across the city, and sustaining this important housing resource for the city’s lower income and newcomer populations.
* The provincial government make its Community Opportunities Fund accessible to private-sector tenant groups for the purpose of engaging tenants and building their capacity to be active participants in the revitalization of their tower communities.
* The federal government to establish a National Housing Strategy which sets out standards for adequate, accessible and affordable housing.
December 13, 2010
NEW PRODUCTIONS ALL OVER THE (HIGHRISE) PLACE
I want to give you a quick taste of what we’ve got going at HIGHRISE. Last post I mentioned our new production THE 2,000th TOWER, a new work stemming from, you guessed it, THE 1,000th TOWER: Stories from Inside a Toronto Suburban Highrise documentary, which we created last spring. In our new project, the highrise residents of the same Toronto Suburb re-imagine their dilapitated buildings and neighborhoods, with world-class architects by their side; animators bring their sketches to life. Here’s some images from the charette, on which we will be basing the story.
Many, many hands have pitched in to craft 2000th Tower.
And I also want to give a shout out to three Out-My-Windowers, who are on their own new productions and personal cinematic journeys… all connected to India.
[Chennai] Last weekend, I attended a fundraiser for HIGHRISE colleague Maria-Saroja Ponnambalam’s new film project that will take her to India at the end of the month. She is creating an experimental documentary to tell the story of her uncle, an artist and a huge inspiration to her when she was a child. He died by suicide at the age of 35, and Maria is seeking cinematically to understand his life and his legacy. At her fundraiser, Maria was surrounded by her family and loved ones, as she showed her previous film, Pretty Little Bits, and excerpts from Out My Window. Her mom also pitched in for the evening with her choir, singing Venezualen songs.
[Kolkata] Meanwhile, another HIGHRISE colleague, Paramita Nath, has just returned from India, having completed her shoot for her short experimental documentary about violence against women, set against the backdrop of Durga, a festival in Kolkata.
[Dharamsala] And this weekend, Amchok Gompo, the star in the Toronto section of Out My Window, held a very moving, private screening in Toronto of his new feature-length feature film, entitled UNPREDICTABLE LIFE, which he shot, wrote and directed within the Tibetan community in India last spring. The film is visually stunning, and tells a moral tale of Tibetan values: how urban modernity bumps up against rural tradition. (Some of the urban scenes did happen inside a highrise, btw) UNPREDICTABLE LIFE could possibly be one of first DIY, self-made Tibetan fiction feature film made by a Tibetan. A huge congrats to Amchok, his family and his friends for this enormous achievement.
Amchok, Thanglo and family receive congratulations for the film, UNPREDICTABLE LIFE
Highrise/One Millionth Tower is up for an award tonight at the newly minted Canadian Screen Awards (formerly the Geminis and Genies). The other nominees are the NFB’s Bear 71 and Bar Code, High Fidelity’s Masa Off Grid, and the CBC’s Exile Without End: Palestinians in Lebanon. Congrats to all! A [...]
We at HIGHRISE just screened our documentary One Millionth Tower outdoors, at a festival celebrating another highrise neighbourhood. In One Millionth Tower, highrise residents re-imagine their neighbourhood by working with architects to illustrate what’s possible in the bleak space around their buildings.
Four residents from this HIGHRISE project crossed from west-side [...]
It’s the Next-Gen participatory media project at HIGHRISE: girls learning computer code. They’re building websites and telling their own stories. It’s future web-developers in the making, on site at the Kipling Highrise in suburban Toronto.
“It’s so easy to learn code!” exclaims Janever, 10, as she learns how to change the [...]
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HIGHRISE at Summer School, CIZEK gives 3 classes at the Centre for Investigative Journalism's Summer School at City University, London U.K. on July 12 2013
HIGHRISE wins Canadian Urban Institute Award, HIGHRISE honoured in Global City category. on June 17 2013
FLAHIVE and CIZEK at MIT, HIGHRISE Senior Producer Gerry Flahive and Director Katerina Cizek visit Open Doc Lab at MIT, with workshops and exchanges across multiple disciplines and laboratories. on October 22 2012
LIVE RADIO BROADCAST from "HIGHRISE", Canad's most listened-to radio program, CBC: Metro Morning, broadcasts live from the site of the NFB HIGHRISE project. 5:30 - 8:30 am on February 15 2012
HIGHRISE at INT'L CONFERENCE ON CITZENSHIP, U of T Prof. Deb Cowen, Research Consultant Emily Paradis, PhD, present early findings from our Digital Citizenship in the Global Suburbs at prestigious academic conference, "Opening the Boundaries of Citizenship" at Open University in the UK. on February 06 2012
HIGHRISE IN THE TORONTO SUBWAY!, HIGHRISE/ONE MILLIONTH TOWER is adapted to a public art installation on the screens and poster space of the TTC! Presented by TTC Pattison One Stop, curated by Sharon Switzer. 6 silent films, 4 posters. on January 01 2012
Re-Imagining Our City, screening of One Millionth Tower, and panel discussion with the people who made this documentary happen.
Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St west, Toronto, ON on December 06 2011 18:00
ONE MILLIONth TOWER at IDFA, Last year's winners of the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling (that would be HIGHRISE) are back in competition for the this year's prize at IDFA, with a new production, One Millionth Tower. 15 entries, 4 of which are NFB. on November 16 2011
SPECIAL FRONTLINE CLUB SCREENING of 1MT, Mozilla and Power to the Pixel present "The Evolution of Cinema, Documentary and the Web," introducing One Millionth Tower. Kat Cizek with open-source cinema guru Brett Gaylor, of Mozilla, moderated by Liz Rosenthal, of Power to the Pixel. Very Limited Seating. on November 07 2011
LAUNCH of 1MT, Noew HIGHRISE documentary, One Millionth Tower, launches at Mozilla Festival, in London U.K. (and on-line too!) on November 05 2011
FLAHIVE at PLANET in FOCUS FESTIVAL, Flahive represents HIGHRISE at
DIGITAL DO-GOODERS PANEL
@ The Al Green Theatre, Miles Nadel Jewish Community Centre
Visual storytellers are creating content that motivates activism as well as entertain. on October 14 2011 11:15
CIZEK at the BRITISH LIBRARY, Kat Cizek gives a summer scholar talk at the British Library, with a tour of Out My Window, and a discussion about the digital documentary. on September 16 2011 12:00
CIZEK keynote @ Open University, UK, Keynote lecture at the International Visual Methods Conference at Open University in Milton Keynes, U.K. on September 13 2011
HIGHRISE at OPEN VIDEO CONFERENCE, NYC, One Millionth Tower, our latest HIGHRISE production, to be discussed at a multi-day summit of thought leaders in business, academia, art, and activism to shape the future of online video. on September 10 2011
HIGHRISE in MEXICO, Michelle Van Beusekom (Assistant Director General of English Program, NFB) represents HIGHRISE at the World Forum of Public Broadcasting in Mexico. on June 09 2011
OUT MY WINDOW live cinema screening, in Montreal, as part of the DNA Symposium. Live music score improvised by Sam Shalabi, Michel F Coté, and Alexandre St-Onge. on May 14 2011 19:30
CIZEK at DNA conference, Keynote at international symposium on database narrative.
Concordia University on May 12 2011
HIGHRISE at Toronto the Good Party, This party brings together a broad cross-section of Torontonians who are interested in the City and in city building. Follows the Toronto Tower Renewal Symposium, at Hart House. on May 12 2011
HIGHRISE UP FOR A ONE WORLD MEDIA AWARD, U.K.-based One World Media Awards recognize the unique role journalists and filmmakers in bridging the divide between different societies and raising awareness of vital development issues. on May 10 2011