Katerina Cizek is a two-time Emmy-winning documentarian working across emergent media platforms. She is leading a new initiative at MIT’s Open Documentary Lab called the Co-Creation Studio, where she is currently completing a field study entitled Collective Wisdom: Co-creating Media within Communities, across Disciplines and with Algorithms, funded by the Ford Foundation.
Over a period of a decade at the National Film Board of Canada, she helped redefine the organization as one of the world’s leading digital storytelling hubs through the Filmmaker-in-Residence and HIGHRISE projects. Both community-based and globally recognized, these groundbreaking serial and digital projects garnered two Emmys, a Peabody Award, a World Press Photo Prize, three Canadian Screen Awards, an IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling, a Sheffield Doc/Fest Award, a Banff Rocky Award, and a Canadian New Media Award, among others.
Cizek has forged unconventional, creative partnerships with diverse organizations and individuals, ranging from an inner-city teaching hospital to the Mozilla Foundation, and from the New York Times to Canada’s top YouTube stars. Her projects are also interventionist and co-creative: they have significantly contributed to conversations about healthcare policy and urban planning, as well as the health outcomes and living conditions of the participants themselves.
Her earlier human-rights documentary film projects have instigated criminal investigations, changed UN policies, and screened as evidence at an International Criminal Tribunal. Cizek’s films include the Hampton Prize winner Seeing Is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights and the News (2002, co-directed with Peter Wintonick), In Search of the African Queen: A People-Smuggling Operation (1999, co-director), and The Dead Are Alive: Eyewitness in Rwanda (1995 editor, co-writer, narrator).
Cizek has served as an advisor to the Sundance Institute’s Stories of Change and New Frontier Labs. She is frequently invited to travel internationally to teach, mentor and share innovative approaches to the documentary genre and journalism.