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Frederick Lewis

Associate Professor

Schoonover Center 331
Cell: 740-274-1650 (preferred)
Office: 740-593-4876

Areas of Expertise

  • Narrative Production
  • Documentary Studies/Production
  • Scriptwriting

Prior to transitioning to higher education, Professor Lewis was, for 14 years, a producer, writer, director and program/production manager based in New England. During that span he worked in commercial, cable and public television, producing everything from documentaries and public affairs programs to corporate video, commercials and Division I college basketball.

His independent documentaries have been seen on PBS stations throughout the U.S. and screened at more than 50 venues, including the National Gallery of Art, the Lake Placid Film Forum and The Explorers Club in NYC. These projects have taken him to Russia, Greenland, Argentina, Chile (sailing to Cape Horn), Denmark, Ireland, Newfoundland and Alaska.

Lewis is an internationally known authority on the life of controversial artist, adventurer and social activist Rockwell Kent (1882-1971). The Washington Post wrote that his two-part, three-hour documentary on Kent "plays like a two-night installment of PBS's 'American Masters,' calling it "a sweeping, detailed, visually rich portrait of a man who emerges as a complex, compelling and finally contradictory force of nature, a charismatic reflection of the eras in which he lived…"

Now at work on a definitive biography of Kent, Lewis was, in 2011, a fellow at the Uummannaq Polar Institute in Greenland, researching Kent’s two extended visits to the region in the 1930s. He has twice (2011 & 2014) been a writer in residence at Landfall, an artist’s retreat in Brigus, Newfoundland that was Kent’s home in 1914-15.

Professor Lewis’ free-lance articles have appeared in The Scandinavian Review, Fine Art Connoisseur and Newfoundland Quarterly, among other publications.

A 2:49 marathon runner (back in the day), Lewis is the producer/writer/director of "That Golden Distance," an Emmy-winning documentary about the early history of The Boston Marathon, and the author of Young at Heart: The Story of Johnny Kelley, Boston's Marathon Man, published by Rounder Books.

Since 2001, Professor Lewis has taught MDIA 4719 (aka “419”), a two semester, advanced narrative production class that has, to date, produced over 50 short films and two feature length movies. These projects, often adapted from the work of writers such as Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Russo, Russell Banks, TC Boyle and Dave Eggers, immerse 50-70 students each year in all aspects of filmmaking, from script development and fund raising to casting, location scouting, production, post-production and publicity. Past projects have been shot on location in California, South Carolina, Michigan, Texas,Tennessee and Maine. Many of these student films have won awards and been screened at various film festivals throughout the U.S.

Lewis has served as the faculty advisor for the Media School's 48-hour Shootout competition since its inception in 2003. More than 300 MDIA students take part in this annual event.

Each summer Professor Lewis directs the Media School’s Screenwriting and Documentary Storytelling Program in Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland. He has to date taken more than 170 students overseas, having also designed and directed Study Abroad programs and production projects in Germany, Malaysia, Guyana, Ecuador, Morocco and Spain (2015).

Frederick Lewis is a recipient of the Presidential Teacher Award, Ohio University’s highest honor for transformative teaching, curriculum innovation and mentoring.  He is passionately committed to experiential learning. Quoth Confucius, "Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember. Let me do and I understand."

He has also taught at Boston University, the Rhode Island School of Design and the International Film & Television Workshops in Rockport, Maine (mainemedia.edu). Overseas he has been a teaching fellow at The Northern Film School at Leeds Metropolitan University in Yorkshire, UK, professed at the University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Ukraine, and been a U.S. Embassy (Berlin, Germany) lecturer at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. He has also served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and a guest lecturer at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France.

M.A. Creative Writing/Literary Arts, Brown University
B.A. English, University of Massachusetts