Montana State University

At the top of the Web: MSU's TERRA is finalist in prestigious contest

April 24, 2007

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For the second time in two months, a popular Montana State University-based Website featuring science and nature documentary has been nominated for one of the top awards in the Web world.

TERRA, a project of the MSU Science and Natural History Filmmaking program, is nominated for a Webby Film & Video Award. Hailed as the "Oscars of the Internet" by the New York Times, The Webby Awards is the first major awards honoring original film and video premiering on the Internet

TERRA's fans may also vote for TERRA as a people's choice in the contest's student film category. TERRA's nomination can be found in the student category of the Online Film and Video section Votes will be accepted through Friday, April 27 and announced May 1. The awards will be given out at ceremonies June 4 in New York City.

TERRA makes a diverse collection of science and nature films available for free download throughout the world. So far, more than 2.5 million films have been downloaded from the site.

Eric Bendick, TERRA's series producer, likened the recent popularity of the show to a perfect storm.

"The technology has made it possible and the demand for 'green' content is growing everyday in response to big issues like climate change and the price of gasoline," said Bendick, who is also a graduate student in the MSU Science and Natural History Filmmaking program. He added that regular viewers turn to TERRA for information and entertainment every week.

"I think for random viewers just surfing the Web get hooked by seeing something that they won't find anywhere else."

In February, Terra was a finalist for the South By Southwest Web (SXSW) awards in the student category. Bendick said that award is valuable among the Web community, but "a Webby award is something that communicates to the public in a big way," he added. "It is the most prestigious, and oldest Web award."

According to Bendick TERRA currently has a slim 3 percent lead in the race for a Webby people's voice award In the SXSW awards there were 200-300 nominated Websites up for a single people's choice award

"But in the Webbys, there are only two nominated sites competing against us in our category, so the odds are definitely better," Bendick said. If our lead holds, we will win a Webby award and it will be coming home to MSU. That's the reason we're hoping to get the entire academic community motivated to vote."

To learn more about TERRA go


Eric Bendick (406) 994-6227,