Broadcast / Under Review

Steichen … A Century in Photography (1980)

EDWARD STEICHEN lived nearly 93 years and during that time he became the foremost photographer and photography advocate in America. He saw the camera’s potential in art, commerce and war.

He profoundly influenced the use of photographs in advertising. He did portraiture photography and it was said that a person couldn’t think of themselves as famous until they were photographed by Edward Steichen. He was also innovative in terms of exhibition, focusing on themes, and sometimes very large photography exhibits such as “The Family of Man.”

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright EDWARD ALBEE narrates Steichen…A Century in Photography, produced by WXXI, TV21, Rochester, New York. I was the researcher/writer for this nationally broadcast (PBS) documentary. It is now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.


Even the Heavens Weep: The Mine Wars of West Virginia (1985, 1986 & 1987)

All but ignored in American history, this is the story of the largest armed insurrection in since the Civil War. In 1921 more than 10,000 armed coal miners went on the march. Their sole purpose was to shoot the union into southern West Virginia.

There was no body of research regarding the massive march of the armed miners so as researcher/writer I had to pour over hundreds of documents, and the testimony of eyewitnesses, to find the story and its structure. 

Narrated by then TV star MIKE CONNORS, Even the Heavens Weep was selected for broadcast by PBS on Labor Day in 1985, 1986 and 1987. The New York Times said the documentary was “intelligent and well done,” and it has received stellar reviews from others.

Even the Heavens Weep received a National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Emmy nomination, the West Virginia Humanities Award, American Film Festival’s “Blue Ribbon,” received , an Ohio State Award for Excellence, and, among others honors and awards, IRIS and CINDY awards for “Best Documentary.” The film continues to be referenced by national media, including a recent NPR analysis of unions. Even the Heavens Weep was selected by the State Department to tour internationally. _________________________________________________________

Choices of the Heart (1988)

Two supervisors make painful choices about whether to continue building Trident nuclear submarines or to quit.  Called “the deadliest weapon ever”–the submarine is so big it cannot be built inside. Instead, the Trident is built in Connecticut’s Thames River.

Co-produced with Peabody Award-winner Lou Giansante, this radio program came about because of research I was doing. For four summers I traveled the country interviewing Americans about their fears of  a nuclear war. I came upon the two men featured  in this program at Electric Boat Plant in Groton, CT.  Security at the plant played games with us but we got our worker interviews anyway.

This independently produced radio program was  broadcast on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” on the 25th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was rebroadcast by WBAI in New York City and its national affiliates, and by SANE’s “Consider the Alternatives” nationally syndicated radio program. It earned an Ohio State Award for Excellence and was a radio program finalist, National Community Radio Award, 1989.


Fighting the Mob: The Story of Carmen Basilio (2000)

Legendary boxer Carmen Basilio could not be bought by the mob-backed International Boxing Commission and it cost him plenty in time, money and even a shot at the title.

But he kept his honor and in the end helped bust up the mob and realize his boyhood dream of becoming the welterweight and middleweight champion of the world.

Basilio is a personal friend and I served as a consultant and on-camera interviewee for this ESPN documentary. Narrated by actor PAUL SORVINO, with music by ERIC MINGUS, Fighting the Mob is repeatedly broadcast on ESPN Classics.

To view the entire program, go to:

The film is archived at the International Boxing Hall of Fame  (Canastota, NY). It is also included in the World Boxing Archive, was selected by Pound for Pound Videos, “Boxing’s Best Documentaries & Shows” (www.P4PGreatlist.doc), MMA Underground: “The Best Boxing Documentaries,” and is cited often in numerous websites.


Honduran Hope (2000)

This independently produced documentary sought to see if the popular perception of this poorest nation in Central America was true: that its people feared the military, would do almost anything to migrate to the United States, and lived in despair.

Yet what I found was invincible hope in the midst of devastating poverty and other ills.   The head of the water project told me, as I was about to leave the country, “If you come to Honduras with materialistic eyes you will be disappointed.  If you come with spiritual eyes, you will be glad.” This is a story of discovery and inspiration.

I was the writer, director and producer, ably assisted by UNC Wilmington colleagues  Bill Bolduc (cinematography), and Frank Trimble (music). Actor ED ASNER narrates.

Broadcast regionally on PBS broadcast, Honduran Hope received a First Place award by the Broadcast Education Association, and was an Official Selection at the Candela International Film Festival (Rotterdam, Holland), and the Smoky Mountain/Nantahala Media Festival (NC).


Paving the American Dream: Southern Cities, Shores and Sprawl (2002)

Communities across the South are increasingly concerned that current development patterns are no longer in the long-term interest of their cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural areas. This documentary examines the challenges and offers possible solutions.

This UNCW production was conceived and is hosted/narrated by Chancellor R. Leutze. I served as writer, director and co-producer. Paving the American Dream was broadcast regionally on PBS, and earned numerous honors, include the CASE Award for “Best Documentary.” _________________________________________________________

Troubled Waters: The Illusion of Abundance (2004)

Water, ancient and timeless, is one of our most precious and vital resources. Though three-fourths of our planet is covered with water,  only two percent of it is consumable. At the world’s current rate of consumption, that two percent may not be able to sustain the burgeoning global demand.

Hosted and narrated by UNC Wilmington Chancellor James R. Leutze, the film features North Carolina Governor Mike Easley and world-renowned water expert Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project. The program explores the main causes of water scarcity. Success stories illustrating cooperative efforts to conserve, share and reuse water resources are also part of the story.

This UNC Wilmington production was broadcast regionally (MD-FL) in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and numerous times since. I served as writer, director and co-producer. Among other honors, the program earned a CASE Award for Excellence and a “Best Documentary,” Gold Special Jury Award, the highest honor in the ecology/environment/ conservation category, WorldFest Houston. 

Lesson plans for high school teachers were developed and used. For more information, along with teacher and student resources about water quality can be found at UNCW’s Water Quality website.)


Broken Brotherhood: Vietnam and the Boys from Colgate (2005)

The Vietnam War ripped through colleges and universities like a tornado, severing friendships and leaving silence in its wake.

This documentary explores what happened to students at Colgate University (Hamilton, NY), which during the 1960s was a small, all-male college. Interviewees range from a conscientious objector to a Lt. Colonel in the Marine Corps–and all war stances between. An independent production, Broken Brotherhood: Vietnam and the Boys from Colgate was broadcast twice on Thirteen/WNET-TV, which broadcasts in NYC and the Tri-State area.

According to reviewer, Scott Laderman, in The Journal of American History (2006) 93, No. 3, Broken Brotherhood is a film about healing. Laderman goes on to say:

Proceeding from the assumption that the United States remains riven by the Vietnam War decades after it officially ended, director Lou Buttino addresses the continuing unease about the conflict in American memory through his own experiences and recollections and those of his fellow Colgate University alumni from the 1960s and 1970s…(T)he production touchingly allows some of the disparate voices of that era to reflect on their experiences…

A co-production with Colgate classmate Robert Aberlin ’66, with a superb job on the music by Marc Black, Colgate ’72. I came up with the program title, traveled around the country directing and conducting all but one interview (mine) and a small portion of another. Mr. Aberlin joined me whenever he could. I also served as the editor of the program, which had premieres in New York and North Carolina.


The Lady and the Outlaw Horse: Jane Pohl and the Renegade Champion Fitzrada (2006)

Heralded as the greatest rider in late 1940s America, Jane Pohl competed against men without any gender concessions whatsoever–and she beat them. Remarkably, she did it on a horse that was so unruly–and dangerous–the Army was going to shoot it.

Jane Pohl’s courage and riding skill, and her work with the outlaw Fitzrada paid off. The two changed the way female riders were viewed–and broke other barriers, including the prohibition against women being able to compete in the Olympics.

I served as director and editor on the film, which I co-produced with Richard R. Rust and Ulrich Laundhardt.

Under review in regards to broadcast.  For more information read my late co-producer Richard Rust’s compelling book, Renegade Champion:  The Unlikely Rise of Fitzrada.


Lessons of September: One School Remembers 9/11 (2012)

This is a compelling portrait of a year in the life of Brooklyn Polytechnic Preparatory Country Day School (Poly Prep) which was particularly hit hard by the horrific 9/11 tragedy. Ten young alumni died in the World Trade Center, a current student lost her aunt, a recent graduate lost his father, and a teacher lost her brother.

Lessons of September includes no graphic footage of the towers falling or of any of the day’s physical devastation. Instead, the program relies on emotional interviews, in the main conducted by me, with surviving family members, teachers who remember the victims, and Poly Prep students themselves. In this way, the program presents a spectrum of the different ways grief manifests itself, and the creative outlets that helped the community deal with its tremendous sense of loss. Host/Narrator JOHN TURTURRO commented, “Working on this special episode really meant a lot to me; I am confident that it will touch viewers the same way it touched me.”

In addition to doing the interviewing, I served as co-producer of the program, along with  Kate Geiss and Robert Aberlin. Ms. Geiss was the cinematographer, and we shared directorial duties. Steve Anderson, of Poly Prep, and the mainstay of the story, was a big help in locating the appropriate people to interview. Mr. Aberlin made sure the crew got to the right places at the right time.  

Lessons of September was a co-production of Thirteen/WNET. I also contributed to the editing, as did Ms. Geiss and John DeNatale, executive producer of Thirteen/WNET. Funding was provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Norman and Rosita Winston Foundation, and public television viewers.

Lessons of September was broadcast in, 2002 and re-broadcast in 2003, on the anniversary of “9/11.”  It was selected by PBS for their national catalogue. Special screenings for 9/11 families, teachers and students who appear in the documentary was held at the WNET studio, NYC. A North Carolina premiere was held in Kenan Auditorium, UNC Wilmington campus, and on the tenth anniversary of the tragedy, a special screening and discussion was also held on the UNC Wilmington campus.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s