International Emmy win for Charles Sturt alumni for children’s educational series

8 FEBRUARY 2024

International Emmy win for Charles Sturt alumni for children’s educational series

Awards season is in full swing and two Charles Sturt University alumni are in the thick of it. Two television production graduates have been recognised after winning an International Emmy Award for their children’s wildlife documentary series.

Mr Daniel Walkington and Mr Jerry Butterfield both graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (TV Production) from Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga in 2010 and 2000, respectively.

Dan and Jerry said studying in a regional town exposed them to a range of people and experiences they have carried with them through their careers, with Jerry adding that the country campus was affordable and provided him with lifelong friendships.

“Studying at Charles Sturt University gave me a broad bedrock of knowledge, which I believe made me very versatile when I was first looking for work,” Dan said.

“Over my career I was able to build on those skills. Today I work with producers, networks, talent and crews to bring Australian stories to life.”

Dan and Jerry both commenced work immediately after graduation – Dan in the media library at National Geographic and Jerry at Foxtel in Sydney.

Jerry soon obtained a permanent role at National Geographic while Dan continued his career cutting trailers for documentaries and working on commercials and short stories.

Jerry became the Australian Creative Director at National Geographic before being offered the same role at its parent company Fox International. By the time Jerry left this position, he was responsible for all programming, production, marketing and digital content for National Geographic and FX channels.

Jerry and Dan established Butter Media in 2018, just in time for COVID-19, along with another colleague of theirs, Luke Williams.

EmmyFive short years later in late 2023, they were recognised on the global stage with an International Emmy Award win in the Kids: Factual and Entertainment category for their ABC ME wildlife series, Built to Survive, supported by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Screen NSW and Screen Australia.

The 10-part series follows host Phil Breslin, a colleague of Jerry and Dan’s, as he draws on the knowledge of science, First Nations peoples and his own experience in the wild, to discover how animals adapt to some of the world’s most extreme and diverse habitats.

Butter Media was the production house and producers of the program, with Jerry serving as the Executive Producer and Dan as the Series Producer.

“It’s one of those moments where you have to pinch yourself,” Dan said.

“It was unexpected considering we were up against TV shows from all around the world with bigger budgets, crews and support. But I think that just proves that you can’t beat a great story.”

Growing up watching Australian kids’ television helped Dan to form his own opinions about his identity and his place in this country and the world.

He said the series resonated with him because of its desire to visit places that are not always given a lot of attention and to give children a sense of pride in the unique stories, landscapes and wildlife that we share this country with.

Dan said being recognised on the international stage is not only a big win for these Australian independent producers, but it showcases Australian talent and locations on a global scale.

The duo said national or international success is not limited by where you studied or grew up.

“I found studying outside of the metro areas gave me more freedom and opportunities,” Dan said.

“It was more affordable, more creative and for me coming from the city, a life experience that I really think made me who I am today.”

The award win is already garnering opportunities for the duo, who have been asked to speak at a conference in Europe in 2024.

Dan encourages people to be curious, knock on doors and embrace the ‘boring bits and stresses’ because the places it can take you are worth it.

Media Note:

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0429 217 026 or news@csu.edu.au

Photo caption: Charles Sturt alumni Daniel Walkington and Jerry Butterfield with their International Emmy Award (pictured closer, inset).

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Wagga Wagga Arts and Culture Charles Sturt University