Friday night was the launch of Beyond The Fire, a seven-part documentary series being aired on Channel 10, that showcases the real heart of the humanity that came from the 2019/2020 Black Fire campaign.
Danielle McAlpine Johnson of Cheeky Mac Productions and writer, director and producer of the series, was inspired when joining Gippsland farmers Clancy and Darcy McAlpine on a convoy of fifteen semi-trailers of hay to fire stricken farms in East Gippsland.
This was the catalyst for the rest of the seven part series featuring stories that show the hope, resilience and true community spirit that comes from such events.
The launch, which was originally to be showcased at the Slipway, due to bad weather the organisers had to very quickly pull together a Plan B.
Once again the generosity of the Lakes Entrance community came through when Matthew O’Donnell and John Marshall kindly offered the Albert & Co function centre.
The event showcased episode four - Circle Of Fire, which tells the story of our Traditional Custodians from Gunaikurnai Country, how the Black Summer fires have affected their communities and how we can work together in the future to prevent such events.
The event was attended by Alice Pepper and Cathy Thomas, who both featured in the episode.
“It’s been a wonderful experience being part of the documentary, and great opportunity to highlight the importance of Cultural burns.” Cathy said.
It was followed by episode five - Flame Fighters, which showcased volunteer CFA members from East Gippsland.
This episode is a reminder of the incredibly important role these unsung heros play in our communities.
When everyone is told to leave, they stay and fight and this episode captures the essence of what a CFA volunteer experiences during large fire seasons.
“Our communities and keeping them safe is why we volunteer and why we love being a part of the CFA,” First Lieutenant of Lakes Entrance CFA, Geof Bassett, said.
“We are a family and we look out for each other, Danielle did an incredible job of capturing the craziness of what we do in the cinematography, as well as the humanity in our stories,” he said.
Geof’s wife, Bianca Bassett, was also a CFA volunteer and a participant in the project.
“After the fires Covid and lockdowns hit and so many of us never got the chance to talk about what happened and how it made us feel,” Bianca said.
“I hope anyone that may be struggling reaches out and talks to someone in their community or calls Lifeline.
“Looking back and talking through what happened with Danielle, has helped many of us involved heal,” she said.
Next week will feature episode six - The Heart of Wairewa.
The episode takes a look at the devastation that affected the small town, and then celebrates the unity and the people of Wairewa, how they survived as they band together to celebrate new beginnings.
Those who participated in the Beyond the Fire series gathered for the launch at the Albert & Co function centre.