Monday, January 10, 2011

Out My Window: 360-degree Interactive Documentary

"For most of my life, I've despised highrise buildings," writes Canadian documentary director Katerina Cizek. "It was with considerable humility that I began to examine my own relationship to the urban and the vertical."

The result is a massively ambitious multimedia undertaking that Cizek has spearheaded for the National Film Board of Canada, "Highrise." It is showcased this week on

Most remarkable about the first segment of the global project, "Out My Window," is that it almost looks and feels like a videogame. Cizek tackled the challenge of creating the panoramic environment when she crossed paths with Yellowbird, a Dutch company founded in 2009 that specializes in interactive streaming 3D video technology.

Consequently, viewers can tour highrise units, and watch first-person stories about their occupants, all over the planet: "The towers in the world, the worlds in the towers."

Concrete residential highrise buildings are the most commonly built form of the last century. On the outside, they all look the same. But inside these towers of concrete and glass, people create community, art and meaning amid the ruins of modernism.

Meet remarkable residents who look out on the world from highrise windows, and harness the human spirit.

With more than 90 minutes of material to explore, "Out My Window" features 49 stories from 13 cities, told in 13 languages.
As Telegraph21 reports:

Cizek directed the project via Skype, Facebook and email, in a collaborative process with photographers, journalists, architects, researchers, activists, digital developers and artists from around the world.

In Cizek's words, "the fragmented, non-linear stories of 'Out My Window' reflect the way we tell our stories. Pieces. Snippets. Small tales that, as they add up, create a collage of meaning, of experience. Together, subtly, gently, the stories accumulate into epic narratives about globalization, migration, poverty, environmentalism, reclamation, and the search for spiritual meaning."
Cizek's documentary work has chronicled the Digital Revolution, and has itself become part of the movement. She works across many media platforms: linear films, radio, print, television, emerging new media and live presentations. Among many other accomplishments, Cizek also created and rolled out the award-winning NFB Filmmaker-in-Residence program, an innovative partnership of media with medicine, previously showcased on KobreGuide to the Web's Best Videojournalism.

Follow the development of "Highrise" here.

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