Acting,  Featured,  Producing,  Work

Festivals, interviews, awards and more – that was the three months that was! #acting #actor #director #shakespeare

Sally McLean, Billy Smedley and Shaun Herbertson at the Noosa International Film Festival Opening Night in Queensland last month.

It’s been a crazy few months, with interviews, more filming, a couple of acting gigs and the Shakespeare projects continuing to screen at film festivals around the world – much to all the team’s ongoing delight! Just to keep a record of what’s been going on, I’m going to simply brain dump everything here in this post, so you’ve been warned!


Where do I begin?! It’s been an amazing time for Shakespeare Republic, which is wonderful considering we’re in the last stages of Season Two’s festival run and yet, its success keeps surprising me and making me so proud of all the team. To start with, the series received a Best Female Director Fiction nomination at the Cardiff Mini Film Festival in Wales for the “Thomas More” episode featuring Christopher Kirby. Then the same episode was selected for the Lit On Film Festival in New York, USA run by the iconic Strand Book Store. Then we got the news that the series had received seven nominations at the Web Series Festival in Utah, USA, including, amazingly, a Best Actress nomination for me for “Beatrice” and Best Director nomination as well! Extraordinary!! Christopher Kirby was also nominated for Best Actor and the whole acting ensemble was recognised with a Best Ensemble Cast nomination. THEN, we got the news that we had received ANOTHER seven nominations at the New Jersey Web Fest in the USA, which included another Best Director nomination for me and another Best Ensemble Cast nomination, as well as a Best Editing nomination among a cache of others! To say I was gobsmacked with all this love for the work would be an understatement!

Here was the nomination haul across three of the festivals for the series:

Nominated: Best Female Director Fiction – 2018 Cardiff Mini Film Festival (Wales) (“Thomas More” Episode)
Nominated: Best Dramatic Web Series – 2018 Web Series Festival (USA)
Nominated: Best Director – Drama (Sally McLean) – 2018 Web Series Festival (USA)
Nominated: Best Cinematography (Shaun Herbertson) – 2018 Web Series Festival (USA)
Nominated: Best Budget Under $10,000 – 2018 Web Series Festival (USA)
Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast – 2018 Web Series Festival (USA)
Nominated: Best Lead Actor (Christopher Kirby) – 2018 Web Series Festival (USA)
Nominated: Best Lead Actress (Sally McLean) – 2018 Web Series Festival (USA)
Nominated: Best Actor In a Drama, Thriller or Sci-Fi (Christopher Kirby) – 2018 New Jersey WebFest (USA)
Nominated: Best Director in a Drama, Thriller or Sci-Fi (Sally McLean) – 2018 New Jersey WebFest (USA)
Nominated: Best Cinematography – Drama, Thriller or Sci-Fi (Shaun Herbertson) – 2018 New Jersey WebFest (USA)
Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast in a Drama, Thriller or Sci-Fi – 2018 New Jersey WebFest (USA)
Nominated: Best Series Premise – 2018 New Jersey WebFest (USA)
Nominated: Best Editing (Thanassi Panagiotaras & Sally McLean) – 2018 New Jersey WebFest (USA)
Nominated: Outstanding Drama Series – 2018 New Jersey WebFest (USA)

And then the festivals themselves rolled around – and what an extraordinary six weeks that was! The series would go on to win five awards across three festivals which was just incredible! First, Christopher Kirby won Best Lead Actor at the Lit On Film Festival in New York, then we won Best Budget Under $10,000 and Best Dramatic Web Series at the Web Series Festival in Utah! THEN, we won Direct Selection into the Asia Web Awards at the New Jersey Web Fest AND Outstanding Drama Series!!

Sadly, I couldn’t be at any of these festivals in person, but I was lucky enough to have three fellow web series creators and good friends – Caris Vujcec (The Pepper Project), Tom Chamberlain (The Pantsless Detective) and Nancy Rizk (Full Disclosure) – at New Jersey Web Fest who agreed to represent myself and the series at that festival if needed. And then I saw these videos of the three of them accepting our two accolades on my behalf. Speechless doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction when seeing these lovely humans saying what they said to the room. I’m still overwhelmed by their speeches, so I’ll just leave these videos here for you to watch without further commentary.

Above: Nancy Rizk, Tom Chamberlain and Caris Vujcec accepting Shakespeare Republic’s Direct Selection certificate for the Asia Web Awards on my behalf.

Above: Tom Chamberlain accepting the award for Outstanding Drama Series on my behalf for Shakespeare Republic at New Jersey Web Fest.

Yup, still speechless. But so much love and thanks to all three of them for being so awesome and kind and generous. Huge thanks also to Neem Basha, NJ Web Fest Director, for giving the series early selection and for all his wonderful support and to he and his team for all those amazing nominations and our awards! 😀


The short film, Speaking Daggers, continues on it’s festival run, now officially selected for 20 international film festivals around the globe! Berlin International CineFest (Germany), Noosa International Film Festival (Australia), SBE Hamilton International Film Festival (USA), Germany International Film Festival (Germany), Portugal International Film Festival (Portugal), Cape Town International Film Festival (South Africa), Fish Eye Film Festival (UK) and Festival Île Courts (Mauritius) all accepted the film into their official selections and it felt like back-to-back screenings across August to October for the film as a result!

And then, the news just kept getting better! I was absolutely thrilled to discover that the film had won Best Short Film at the Berlin International Cinefest in Germany and then only a few weeks later the film won the Rising Star Award at the Germany International Film Festival in Munich! Amazing! We were also nominated for Best Hair & Make Up at the Fish Eye Film Festival in the UK!

Needless to say, I am so grateful to all the festivals for including the work in their line up and so absolutely delighted that the film was considered strong enough to be an award winner in the two festivals we were accepted into in Germany!

The current crop of festival screenings for the film concluded with our Queensland Premiere at the Noosa International Film Festival. And because it was in Queensland, it meant I could attend!! Billy Smedley (Producer/Ensemble), Shaun Herbertson (Cinematographer) and I made the trip up to Noosa to be part of the fun and we had an absolute ball!

Below is a small selection of images of us at the festival, where we also got to meet Founding Patron of NIFF, John Seale (Cinematographer for Rain Man, Gorillas In The Mist, Dead Poet’s Society, Witness, The English Patient, The Talented Mr Ripley, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Cold Mountain, Mad Max: Fury Road, and the list goes on) who is a lovely human being and such a wealth of knowledge about our industry.


The documentary, Champion: The Franz Stampfl Story, also finally got back to filming while we were in Noosa – with the long anticipated interview with the fabulous David Williamson (Australian playwright & screenwriter) which we filmed on a morning off from attending NIFF. David was such a delight to chat with on camera and the team are so grateful to him for giving us the time and being so lovely to deal with. The doco is now back on the agenda with more filming planned before Christmas, which I am so glad about. It has weighed heavily on me that we haven’t yet completed this project, but finally meeting and interviewing David was just the shot in the arm I needed to get back to finishing this film, so stay tuned for news on that front!

Big thanks to Tasha and Bruce from NIFF for helping us out with some extra filming gear and to the wonderful Tammy Law for driving up from Brisbane to do our stills for the shoot. Highly recommend Tammy if you’re looking for a photographer in Queensland – she took some beautiful shots on the day and the portrait below of David Williamson and I taken after the interview concluded has fast become one of my favourite photos from the doco shoot.

Sally McLean with David Williamson after his interview for “Champion”


These past few months have also been busy from a media perspective as well. Highlights included being interviewed at length for FilmInk, appearing on RMITV’s “Offbeat” and being interviewed, again at length for the new podcast “How Do You Do You?” hosted by the fabulous Matt Smolen, all of which covered my work as an actor, writer and director and all the projects I’m currently working on. I’ve included my interview on “Offbeat” below as it’s the shortest of the three, but if you want to read/hear more, I’ve included the FilmInk and podcast lists below that as well 🙂


Sally McLean: All The World’s A Stage (FilmInk Interview):

How Do You Do You? Sally McLean (Podcast interview):

There’s plenty more to share, but I think this post has gone on long enough, so I’ll leave it here for now and share the rest of my news later in the week!

So, until then, have a great weekend and keep being you as only you can.

All best, Sal 🙂