HIGHRISE/Out My Window is a brand-new interactive documentary. It features first-person stories from 13 cities internationally, with an eclectic soundtrack, exploring the experience of life in the concrete highrise – the most common built form of the last century.
Designed to be experienced online, the project launches the viewer inside a 360-degree panorama, into an almost game-like environment. Toronto-based documentary maker Katerina Cizek directed the project largely via Skype, Facebook and email, in a collaborative process with photographers, journalists, architects, researchers, activists, digital developers and artists from around the world. The credit list rivals a feature film.
The stories of Out My Window span the globe: from Latin America's largest squat in Sao Paolo to a hugely renovated post-soviet concrete suburb in the south of Prague. Durdane in Istanbul describes how her squatter highrise community came about in the eighties, as people moved from the countryside and built towers one floor at a time. John from Johannesburg talks about the phenomenon of 'highjacked buildings,' where tenants are forced to pay rent to illegal landlords even as their buildings fall to ruin. Amchok from Toronto, who escaped Chinese-controlled Tibet by walking to India, talks about how his work as music teacher and performer brought him to Canada and helps make a home in his building in Toronto.