Since his appointment to the Crown Corporation in 2007, Buttignol has transformed the public broadcaster into a digital media service available through television, apps and websites, with live streaming and video-on-demand. This strategy has significantly increased audience share and tripled donor revenue, making Knowledge Network the most publicly funded public broadcaster in Canada.
Buttignol also moderates documentary financing forums at the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam and Asian Side of the Doc. He is a Director on the Boards of the Britannia Mine Museum and the Knowledge-West Communications Corporation; and Vice-Chair of the Canadian Association of Public Educational Media. In 2011 he was appointed to to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, a federal government tribunal, and served until 2017. He is the winner of nine Canadian Academy Awards, an honourary Doctor of Letters from Thompson Rivers University and a member of the Order of Canada.
From 2000 to 2006, Buttignol worked as TVO’s Creative Head of Network Programming, responsible for re-branding Ontario’s public broadcaster and significantly increasing audiences and revenues. Concurrently, 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 award-winning documentary series that ran for fourteen seasons. His internationally heralded commissions included feature documentaries: The Corporation; Manufactured Landscapes; Allan King’s 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 series include Diamond Road; Black Coffee; Michael Ignatieff’s 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 and children’s series that were broadcast by A&E, Bravo, CBC, Channel 4 (UK), Discovery, Global, The History Channel, and PBS. Titles include Alan Bean: Art Off This Earth; The Dairy; Jack Bush; Neon: An Electric Memoir; Shipyard; The SpaceWatch Club; Soviet Space: The Secret Designer; and the multi-screen Ontario Place installation Inward Passage. 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 a Canadian NGO. He has served as a tutor at the Berlin/Munich-based Documentary Campus Masterschool (2001-2016), and was on the advisory council of the European Media Management Academy in Strasbourg. Buttignol has also moderated financing forums in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Chengdu, Kuala Lumpur, La Rochelle, Leipzig, Seoul, Tokyo, Toronto and Xiamen.
Buttignol is widely acknowledged for his expertise and contributions to strategic planning and board governance of public sector organizations. Past service includes: founding Chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada; founder of the Hot Docs Financing Forum; consecutive elections to the Board of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television (1985-2003), including seven years as Chair and founding President of the Academy’s Foundation. Buttignol’s past board directorships also include: Banff Media Festival; Canada Media Fund; Canadian Conference for the Arts; Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre; Hot Docs International Documentary Festival; the Vancouver International Film Festival; and the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board.
Buttignol was born in Pordenone, Italy and emigrated 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. In 2015, Buttignol was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada, “for his contributions as a champion of Canadian documentary filmmaking and for his transformative leadership at the Knowledge Network.” In 2017, Buttignol was conferred with the distinction of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, from Thompson Rivers University; and received the Bryden Alumni Tentanda Via Award from York University.
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"Daphne Bramham: CBC could learn a thing or two from Knowledge Network" Vancouver Sun Article