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For the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population lives in cities. Global urbanization is the defining trend of the 21st century. But “urbanization” may not take the shape one first imagines. It’s a new species of urban. The world’s cities are actually growing fastest at their edges. The fringes. The margins. The suburbs. A massive phenomenon is emerging — and it isn’t “downtown.” It’s called Global Suburbanization. And the ubiquitous highrise tower is the most visible symbol of that change.

HIGHRISE is a multi-year, multi-media, multi-city documentary project, using the acclaimed interventionist and participatory approaches of the award-winning NFB Filmmaker-in-Residence (FIR) project. Our scale will be global, but rooted firmly in the FIR philosophy — putting people, process, creativity, collaboration, and innovation first.

HIGHRISE takes as it framework the highrise residential tower, one of the most familiar and most frequently-built architectural forms on the planet. A highrise tower is a microcosm of change, of conflict and diversity, of urbanity and isolation, of the intensity of living that makes cities simultaneously exciting and tense, striking and bleak.

HIGHRISE is based in intensive community collaboration, married to an international vision for what documentary can be. As it unfolds through production, post-production, presentation, projection etc., HIGHRISE will remain platform-agnostic, not committed to one or another documentary form (e.g. a single film) but open to all of them...and to ones not yet born.


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