Rudy Buttignol

President and CEO of British Columbia’s Knowledge Network
and President of BBC Kids.

Rudy Buttignol is the President and CEO of British Columbia’s Knowledge Network Corporation, and President of BBC Kids, a Canadian subscription channel operated as a joint venture with BBC Worldwide.


Since his appointment in 2007, Buttignol has led the transformation of the public broadcaster from a single, analogue television station to a digital media service with three television networks, a print magazine, and three websites with live streaming and video on demand. Knowledge Network’s TV everywhere strategy has significantly increased audiences and revenue, and reduced its reliance on government funding.

Knowledge is now regularly the 4th most watched network in prime time in BC, and 1st or 2nd in children’s programming. Each week the television channels reach one in three British Columbians. The main website,, has over 6 million page views annually. Charitable donations have increased from $1.7 million in 2006 to $3.9 million in 2015, and donors – Knowledge Partners – increased from 22,000 to 38,000 in that period. The Knowledge endowment fund, started from scratch in 2008, is currently valued at $3.3 million. Revenues earned from operating the BBC Kids channel helped fund the launch of the Knowledge HD channel, and today enables Knowledge Network to continuously improve its service to British Columbians.

Currently, Buttignol is a Director on the Boards of the Britannia Mine Museum and the Vancouver International Film Festival; Vice-Chair of the Canadian Association of Public Educational Media; and a B.C. government appointee to the board of Knowledge-West Communications Corporation. In 2011 he was appointed to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, an independent tribunal of the federal government. Buttignol also moderates documentary financing forums in Amsterdam, Leipzig and at Asian Side of the Doc; and is a tutor at the Berlin-based Documentary Campus.

From 2000 to 2006, Buttignol served as TVO’s Creative Head of Network Programming, responsible for re-branding Ontario’s public broadcaster and significantly increasing audiences and revenues. At the same time, he was the Executive Producer of Saturday Night at the Movies, the international documentary series Human Edge, and the HBO special Before Their Time. As TVO’s Commissioning Editor and Creative Head of Independent Production from 1993 to 2006, Buttignol founded The View From Here, an international award-winning documentary series than ran for fourteen seasons.

His internationally heralded commissions included feature documentaries such as The Corporation; Manufactured Landscapes; Dying at Grace; The Bodybuilder and I; McLuhan’s Wake; Bret the Hitman Hart; The Champagne Safari; Emmy winner Let it Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles; and Oscar-nominated Hardwood. Commissioned limited series include Diamond Road; Black Coffee; Empire of the Word; Blood and Belonging; Korea, the Unfinished War; The War of 1812; and Emmy and Grammy-winner Yo-Yo Ma: Inspired by Bach.

From 1975 to 1993, Buttignol worked as an independent writer, director and producer of documentaries, children’s series, and commercials. His programs have appeared on A&E, Bravo, CBC, Channel 4, Discovery, Global, The History Channel, and PBS. Titles include Alan Bean: Art Off This Earth; The Dairy; Jack Bush; the multi-screen Ontario Place installation Inward Passage; Neon: An Electric Memoir; Shipyard; The SpaceWatch Club; and Soviet Space: the Secret Designer. In 1979, Buttignol founded Rudy Inc. with partnerships in Houston and Moscow.

In 1983-84, Buttignol served as part-time instructor at the Ontario College of Art & Design; and as administrator of the producer’s assistance program at the National Film Board of Canada. In 1984, he spent two months in Bangladesh documenting health and literacy initiatives for USC Canada.

Buttignol’s community service has been focussed on board governance. Past service includes: founding Chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada; founder of the Hot Docs Financing Forum; consecutive elections (1985 to 2003) to the Board of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, including seven years as Chair; and founding President of the Academy’s Foundation. Buttignol has served as a Director on the Boards of: Banff Media Festival; Canada Media Fund; Canadian Conference for the Arts; Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre; Hot Docs International Documentary Festival; and the European Media Management Academy’s Advisory Council in Strasbourg. Buttignol has also moderated financing forums in Chengdu, Kuala Lumpur, La Rochelle, Seoul, Tokyo, and Xiamen.

Buttignol was born in Pordenone, Italy and came to Canada in 1955. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Toronto’s York University, and has completed Executive programs at the Banff Centre, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the Harvard Business School. Buttignol’s international honours include: the inaugural Doc Mogul Award from Hot Docs International Documentary Festival; Honorary Texan from the Governor of Texas; Distinguished Merit award from the government of Fiume Veneto, Italy; President of Honour of the 23rd Sunnyside of the Doc, La Rochelle, France; Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal; and nine Canadian Academy Awards.

For additional information and references, check Wikipedia.


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