Communication alumni Zury Cutler nominated for Webby Award with docuseries ‘Climate Now’


Photo courtesy of Zury Cutler

Communication alum Zury Cutler’s work as head of post for Climate Now was recognized with a Webby Award nomination.

Jenna Wang, Reporter

Filmmaker Zury Cutler (Communication ’20) never expected the docuseries he worked on as head of post to be nominated for a Webby Award.

However, just two years after college graduation, they woke up to the big news.

“I sat down and checked my email and it just said ‘Congratulations,’” Cutler said. “My first thought was ‘There’s no way this could be about the Webbys. There’s absolutely no way.’”

Climate Now, a content channel that delves into the science of climate change, had indeed been nominated for the international awards show under the Science and Education Video Channels and Series category.

The Webby Awards honor excellent content published on the internet. They are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, made up of a judging body of more than 2,000 industry experts and technology innovators.

“This year’s Nominees represent more than innovation,” Webby Awards President Claire Graves said in an April 5 news release. “They are the coolest, most creative, most shared, watched, listened to, most breathtaking, moving and talked about work on the Internet. We’re so proud to recognize them today.”

Climate Now was one of five nominees in the category alongside projects produced by the BBC and National Geographic, placing it among the top 12% of more than 14,000 entries.

The prestige of the award and the small size of Climate Now contributed to Cutler’s initial doubts of the possibility of being nominated.

“There are massive reputable institutions of journalism — and then there’s my team, of which I am one of four full-time employees being funded by a single partnership,” Cutler said. “I think that’s especially what made it so surprising.”

Cutler joined Climate Now in 2021 to contribute his skills in motion graphics, post-production and editing. Only a few months later, they got the news that the docuseries was nominated for a Webby. Along with their informal knowledge in environmental science, they said their ability to make the complex topics easier to understand contributed to him being hired directly out of college.

Before Cutler started, everyone on the team was part-time, according to Emma Crow-Willard, the managing producer of the docuseries. However, since bringing Cutler onto the team, Climate Now has been able to provide everyone with learning opportunities, Crow-Willard said.

“We get to talk with experts from around the world through these different topics, and you can start to form a really holistic view of what’s going on in (the) climate and in the policy space,” Crow-Willard said. “Everyone wants a job that is really going to help feed their soul and to me, it’s that kind of job.”

Finding meaningful work became especially important for Cutler after he graduated during the pandemic. As opposed to their peers who focused only on editing, they said their self-taught background in motion graphics helped them stand out in the job market.

Along with his interests in films with political and social significance, Cutler said he values the creative freedom and support he has received on Climate Now.

“Even though I’m still a young and inexperienced filmmaker as far as the industry is concerned, my team has really immediately put a lot of faith in my creative vision,” Cutler said. “I really don’t take that for granted, and I think about how lucky I am to be in a position where my team puts that much faith in me and my work.”

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