Incognita Enterprises’ Creative Director, Sally McLean

As you can imagine, putting together a huge event such as Shorts Relief: Flicks For The Fires, has taken a mammoth effort from all involved. We sat Sally down and asked her some questions about why she decided to do this and what she hopes to achieve from the event.

Q: Why did you decide to run this event?

A: The short answer is, that I come from a family of fundraisers and activists. My mother (Olympian, Marg Woodlock-McLean OAM) was a member of the Australasian Institute of Fundraising and worked with charities and community organizations most of her working career and my grandmother (Norma Woodlock BEM) before her was involved in charity fundraising all though my childhood, as well as many social issue events, so really, it’s in my blood. Seeing the devastation pouring into my social media feeds from all around the country as a result of this recent bushfire crisis was just overwhelming, and so my first instinct was to step up and do something to help. Working in the film industry as an actor and filmmaker, it seemed logical to me to reach out to members of my community and bring people together to do our bit to help those on the fire fronts – both those who have been directly affected through loss of property and sadly, lives, as well as those working to save our wildlife as a result of this disaster.

Q: What made you choose Wildlife Victoria and the Victorian Bush Fire Appeal as your nominated charities who would benefit from this event, as opposed to a national charity?

A: I wanted to support those charities and funds that were not getting as much attention as others out there during this crisis. Seeing the wonderful support pouring in for the various wildlife and bushfire charities in New South Wales was amazing, but I was noticing that Victoria wasn’t getting as much attention, for whatever reason. Being Melbourne born and bred, I figured it made sense to focus on charities based here in my home state. There was a list of charities myself and the team looked at. Wildlife Victoria was very quickly our first pick. We eventually settled on the Victorian Bush Fire Appeal as our second as it has a wide-ranging brief of support for communities and people all across the state that have been affected.

Q: Who is involved in organising this event?

A: I have been so grateful for the amount of people, businesses and organisations who have rallied around this event and we have a fantastic team of people putting it all together. My production business, Incognita Enterprises is spearheading the project, working with The Lost Artist and the team at Melbourne WebFest. We have a core team of eight working on this, all of whom come from festival organisation and event management backgrounds, seven of whom are women. In addition to the core team, our Event Partners – businesses and organisations who are donating their time and services to the cause – include Ozflix, Zilla & Brook, Auspicious Arts Projects, Kat Flowers and Balloon Tree Productions. Humanitix are our Ticketing Partner and will be donating all the ticket booking fees for this event to the Red Cross Bushfire Relief Fund as their nominated charity. It has been truly amazing and just wonderful to see how quickly and generously everyone has jumped on board this event after my initial emails and phone calls and testament to the Aussie sense of community and spirit of helping out a mate.

Q: How have you gone about selecting the films and web series that will screen at Shorts Relief?

A: All the core team have festival curation and festival/awards jury backgrounds, so we simply set the task of all of us putting into a list the films and series we’d seen over the past five years that were made by Victorian filmmakers that had some success on the festival circuit, had already had their Melbourne premiere and were under 15 mins long. I consulted with Directors of a couple of other film festivals as well, to make sure we had a wide range to choose from. It happens that this event also falls on International Womens’ Day, so we also have a strong focus on female filmmakers. The only caveat was that we aren’t including the horror genre. Not that it doesn’t have a legitimate place in the Aussie film landscape (so many of our successful short and feature films and web series have been in that genre), it was just that we wanted to keep the programming light and inclusive for all audiences. And not R rated!

And we ended up with over 10 hours’ worth of screening content! This has sadly meant that we’ve had to reduce the number of films and web series suggested down to the current list, due to time constraints – which involved a lot of passionate discussion, because we were spoilt for choice. We ended up going for as wide a variety of genre, tone and subject matter possible, so there would be something for everyone. Part of me wishes we could have run a full weekend for this – there is such an amazing wealth of talent out there in the Victorian screen community in the short form realm and I just want to celebrate them all!

Some of the actors featured in the short films & web series in the line up for Shorts Relief

Q: How is this event going to run? What is the format?

A: Essentially this event is a curated festival of invited short films and web series that celebrates the work being produced by Victorian filmmakers, with all profits from ticket sales going to bushfire relief charities. We have four screening blocks of films and series, plus special guest presenters, and also a fascinating panel about the power of film to incite change. But the real focus for the event is the film and web series screenings.

Q: What are you hoping to achieve with this event?

A: I hope to raise as much money as possible for our nominated charities! I also hope that this will bring the members of our film community together to show our support for bushfire relief, while celebrating the amazing talent we have in the sector in Victoria. If we can raise a decent sum of cash for the charities, and provide a day of great content that entertains, educates and informs, then I’ll see that as a job well done.

Shorts Relief: Flicks For The Fires takes place on Sunday March 8, 2020 from 2pm to 8pm at the Capitol Theatre, Swanston Street, Melbourne. Tickets are $30 Full/$20 Concession. For more information, visit: