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Jim Butterworth

Jim Butterworth

American businessperson and documentary filmmaker
Jim Butterworth
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American businessperson and documentary filmmaker
Known for Seoul Train
Is Filmmaker Documentary filmmaker Entrepreneur
From United States of America
Type Business Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Georgia Institute of Technology
Tuck School of Business
The details


Jim Butterworth is a technology entrepreneur, former investment banker/venture capitalist, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. He is the president and founder of Naked Edge Films, which has produced more than two dozen documentaries that have won an Oscar, two Alfred I. duPont Silver Batons, a Peabody, and have been nominated for four Emmys. He also is the co-founder of the nonprofit documentary production company Incite Productions, and a director and producer of the award-winning film Seoul Train. He is also the inventor of 53 U.S. and foreign patents in the field of streaming media.

In 2007, he was awarded the Dartmouth College Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award. In 2008, he was inducted into the Georgia Tech College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni. He formerly served on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board and is a Member Emeritus of the Georgia Tech ISyE Advisory Board.

Early life and education

Butterworth was born in 1962. 

He graduated from Leon High School. In 1980-81, he attended Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina. He then attended Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering, in 1984. He then earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1991.

Butterworth is an Eagle Scout.


After finishing his education, Butterworth worked in various capacities with many big-name finance/media/technology companies such as Nortel (1983), Boeing (1984), Unisys (1984-1987), Data General (1987-1989), Lehman Brothers (1991-1995), Netcast (1995-1997), etc.

In 1999, he founded LC39 Ventures, a $40 million early-stage venture capital firm and one of the top-performing venture funds of its vintage.

After the dot com bubble burst and the 9/11 attacks, Butterworth relocated to Colorado.

In 2004, Butterworth switched his attention to filmmaking, producing a documentary titled Seoul Train, which attempts to expose the life-and-death struggle faced by North Korean refugees as they flee their homeland through China. He co-directed the documentary with Aaron Lubarsky and Lisa Sleeth under his production firm Incite Productions Inc., a nonprofit company that produces documentaries on global human rights and social justice issues. The film has been translated into more than twenty languages and broadcast on TV globally, including on the Emmy award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. In 2007, Seoul Trainwon the Alfred I. duPont – Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence in broadcast journalism and investigative reporting, the most prestigious prize in television and radio news. The documentary was also a runner-up for the 2007 National Journalism Award.

In 2008, Butterworth formed a film production company named Naked Edge Films. Two years later, he produced a documentary titled War Don Don (directed by Rebecca Richman Cohen). The same year, he produced The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan — a documentary directed by Henry Corra, which follows Michael Nolan on the search for his brother McKinley Nolan, a U.S. Army Private who vanished during the Vietnam War.

In 2014, he produced Silenced, a documentary about three National Security whistleblowers and the war on terror. For his work, the film's director James Spionewon "Outstanding Documentary in Recognition of Social Action" award at the 2014 Tallgrass International Film Festival. He was also nominated for the "Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Award" at the 2015 Cleveland International Film Festival.

Next, in 2014, he produced The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest, a documentary film about American criminal Mark DeFriest, who was imprisoned by the State of Florida since 1980 and spent 27 of those years in solitary confinement. The film was directed by Gabriel London, actor Scoot McNairy provided the voice for DeFriest, and Shea Whigham was the voice of the sentencing judge and the prison guard. The film won the 2014 Best Documentary Feature award at the Lone Star Film Festival and has a score of 82% on Metacritic. 

Most recently, in June 2020, Butterworth released The Jump, a documentary about a Soviet sailor (Simas Kudirka) who jumped onto a U.S. Coast Guard boat in 1970. The documentary also features United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.

Currently, he is working on a new documentary titled The Man of the Monkey(directed and written by David Romberg). The documentary is slated for release in 2021.

To cite the article
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Article Title: Jim Butterworth: American businessperson and documentary filmmaker - Biography and Life
Author(s): PeoplePill.com Editorial Staff
Website Title: PeoplePill
Publisher: PeoplePill
Article URL: https://peoplepill.com/people/jim-butterworth/
Publish Date: 17 Dec 2016
Date Accessed: 24 Oct 2020
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