Dr. Lou Buttino

I am an author and award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and documentary filmmaker.  I do some fiction, short stories and children’s pieces.

I taught at St. John Fisher College (SJFC), Rochester, NY, for more than two decades, beginning in 1973. I moved to North Carolina for a teaching profession at UNC Wilmington (UNCW) in 1994. I wanted to live in a different region of the country and to be tested at a larger university. I was also working in film and Wilmington is a great film community.

I taught in the political science and communication/journalism departments at SJFC. At UNCW, I taught in the communication, creative writing, and film studies departments as well as the Graduate Liberal Studies program. I have been twice-elected chair of Film Studies and helped it to national prominence. In 2011 I stepped down as chair and have returned to teaching. All told I have developed and/or taught more than 58 courses in seven fields at both the undergraduate and graduate level. I have been awarded eighteen teaching awards and citations and two distinguished awards for scholarship.

I began as a fine arts major at Colgate University, Hamilton, NY, but the Civil Rights struggle and the escalating war in Vietnam made me change to political science. After getting my B.A., I went on to finish an M.A. in Government and Public Affairs, University of Miami, FL. After that, I completed a Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. In midst of part-time teaching and graduate studies at Syracuse, I  finished a two-year M.A. in Religious Studies at Colgate Rochester Divinity School.

Through my artistic career, I have published three books (history, biography, and fiction) affecting change, cited nationally, and which resulted in documentary films. I have had five play readings and productions, three national playwriting honors, and nine print interviews and reviews. Ten national selections for Best Screenplay (optioned!), sixty-three published essays, Op-Ed Pieces, and Journalism, and nine reprints and republications of my work in newspapers, magazines, and inclusion in a college writing text alongside James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, and Alice Walker.


I have been involved in more than two-dozen documentary projects, from researcher to executive producer. I have written successful grants averaging $150,00 from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. I have worked as a newspaper columnist, where I received a New York Press Association award, and have written nearly 60 academic articles, human interest pieces, and feature stories. I received 18 teaching and academic scholarship awards, 23 academic grants, and delivered more than 30 university and public presentations.

My political writing has appeared in the “best of the alternative press” annual volumes. I have earned dozens of documentary, writing, play and screenwriting awards and have been nominated for a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy.  A Special Manuscript & Film Collection of my work is housed at William M. Randall Library, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, NC.

Teaching honors from St. John Fisher College include: the Trustees Award for Distinguished Scholarship, the Teaching Excellence Award, and the Rev. Joseph B. Dorsey Award for Outstanding Faculty Service (twice). At UNC Wilmington, I have been the recipient of the Award for Faculty Scholarship,  J. Marshall Crews Distinguished Faculty Award;  Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award, Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award, and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence.

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Lou, this is Willam Corley I was a student and friend at St. John Fisher 1970 to 74), I now live in CA and I am co-founder of BetterManager (bettermanager.us) We shared an amazing “unbirthday” if you remember. I married in 1976, I have 3 adult kids and 5 grandkids/ It would be a kick to catch up.

  2. I am very interested in West Virginia history. Born and raised in southern WV coal country. I would like to obtain a copy of the DVD Even the Heavens Weep. Please tell me where I might buy one. Thank you. Jude Stewart / heyjj.1051@gmail.com

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