Magazine article Screen International

Toronto 2011: Gary Hustwit

Magazine article Screen International

Toronto 2011: Gary Hustwit

Article excerpt

The New York City-based director is in Toronto to present the world premiere of his city design documentary Urbanized, the third film is his design trilogy after Helvetica and Objectified.

Two and a half years in the making (with final funding raised on Kickstarter), the film shot in more than 40 cities and interviews experts including Norman Foster and Rem Koolhaas.

This topic is epic in scale, how did you even decide where to shoot?

We tried to look at different issues and specific projects that were addressing those issues. And Look at those issues in different cities to piece together a sort of composite city. We might look at traffic and public transportation in Bogota, but by looking at that specific project we can explore more global implications. We might look at housing in Santiago. There's a lot of different projects and isseus that are universals that are facing every city in the world. That's how we approached it.

Yes, you could do a 10-part series on one city's design evolution. Some cities are shrinking, others are booming, every city has its sort of individual issues. But universally people need housing, good places to work, water, an easy way to get around the city -- there are things that apply to every city and we look at the challenges our cities are facing. And we look at innovative solutions to those challenges.

What got you started thinking about the challenges facing cities?

When Helvetica came out I went to 100 cities for the screening tour, and I did something pretty similar to that for Objectified. So I think all that travelling and seeing different cities and meeting people who were designers and architects, that's probably what got me so interested in urban design. People were doing some pretty amazing projects. I was always interested in architecture, and I thought maybe architecture would be the focus of the third film, but I think architecture in terms of city building was much more compelling. …

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