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Part 3: New York, North Carolina & LA in twelve days … the USA adventure that was … #CINE #Award #digitalseries #usa #Shakespeare

Republic members Billy Smedley, Sally McLean and Phoebe Anne Taylor with the CINE Golden Eagle Award for Best Digital Series in New York, USA

Today’s update covers the catalyst for us heading over to the USA last month … the CINE Celebrates ceremony in New York, where we were honoured to accept the award for Best Digital Series at the 60th CINE Golden Eagle Awards, alongside fellow winners, the Christian Slater series Mr Robot, National Geographic Channel’s MARS, Variety’s Actors On Actors and many more. Read on for all the fun from the media wall and event on November 17th …

What an epic month November has been! Republic members Sally McLean and Billy Smedley have been travelling around America these past two weeks for the Republic, as you may have seen from our social media updates, and now that the jetlag has worn off somewhat, we thought we should do a quick round-up because it’s been an action-packed trip and we want to share it with you as much as possible! So here’s Part Three of the Republic’s USA trip, straight from Creator/Director, Sally McLean …

When I first got the notification that Shakespeare Republic had won Best Digital Series at the 60th CINE Golden Eagle Awards, I’ll confess that I didn’t quite believe it. To the point that when I spoke on the phone with the lovely Betsy Walters, Executive Director of CINE, I did actually check that they’d not made a mistake and got the filmmaker’s emails mixed up. Hey, it can happen and looking at the calibre of our fellow nominees in this category, it seemed amazing to me that we’d taken out the top spot. But, incredibly (and excitingly), they were certain that they’d got it right and not sent the wrong email to the wrong filmmaker, and so began the plans to travel to the USA in November this year to be able to accept the award in person.

Sally McLean takes a quick sneaky pic with her award before the ceremony.

More on that in a minute … first, I must acknowledge that Billy and I were no longer the only reps for the Republic in New York by this stage … no, we had now been joined by the fabulous Phoebe Anne Taylor! (who played “Sebastian” in Season Two). Phoebe flew into New York on our third day there and we were so delighted to see her!

Sally McLean, Phoebe Anne Taylor and Billy Smedley hanging out in New York together

As you can see, we had far too much fun – it was the strangest thing to feel so at home hanging out together in New York … I keep saying it, I could totally move there … but I digress …

And so, come November 17th, Billy Smedley, Phoebe Anne Taylor and myself found ourselves standing in the foyer of the SVA Theatre in New York, name tags attached and glasses of bubbly in hand – somewhat pinching ourselves. Members of the CBS Sport team, the producers behind We Will Rise (the Michelle Obama documentary), the very cool guys from Black Dot Films VR, and the mega cool BAFTA-nominated Brit documentary maker, Mike Day who won for his latest documentary The Island and The Whales, were all in the room and they were just the guys I’d spotted.

Billy Smedley with the Republic CINE Award during the CINE Celebrates event in New York

We then headed into the theatre to start proceedings. A very cool video package of all the winning productions was shown at the beginning of the night – and Shakespeare Republic was first up! Amazing! There was Tariro Mavondo and Christopher Kirby, larger than life on the big screen for about a minute as we watched the introduction to Tariro’s episode (which was beautifully shot by Shaun Herbertson, as always). I’d been asked if I wanted to choose something specific from the series to include in this package, but really, that’s like asking to pick a favourite from among your children, so I’d said that CINE could make the choice – and it was a powerful opening to the evening.

The stage at the CINE Celebrates ceremony at the SVA Theatre, New York

And then the awards began. So much talent in the room. So much love for everyone’s work. Such a brilliant celebration of filmmaking from around the world. It was pretty special.

Then our snaps at the media wall, award in hand, and more drinks. We’re still waiting to get the official photos, but we have one that we can share (at the top if this post).  And naturally, we did another video …

And then, about half an hour later and a few more drinks, another video … this is what happens when you let your hair down after two years of constant, unrelenting work and focus … but also get to do that with people you love and who also know how to have fun …

It was such a fabulous night and I am so glad I got to share it with Billy and Phoebe. It felt surreal and wonderful and strangely normal all at once and was a very special night.

Thank you to everyone who helped us make the series. We wouldn’t have been standing there in New York with this amazing award in our hands without your help. This win belongs to the whole Republic family and I am so grateful to all of you.

We then headed home to get organized for the next leg of the trip … North Carolina and the Peak City International Film Festival! But you’ll have to tune into the next blog post to find out how that all went (hint: it involved another award – amazingly!)

The next instalment detailing our amazing time in the USA is coming in a couple of days, but for now, I just want to say thank you to the CINE organizers and the Jury for honouring us with this award. It truly means so much to me and all the team and I have it sitting near my desk here in Melbourne and have to keep looking over to make sure it’s real and actually happened! Very grateful and very humbled.  Thank you.

More to come soon …

Till then – stay well, be happy and speak anon,