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ABC Telemovie 'Riot' Goes Into Production

The story of the unwavering dedication of the activists in Australia’s Gay Rights Movement in the 1970s


Courtesy Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives

ABC, Screen Australia and Werner Productions have announced today that filming is underway in Sydney on the telemovie event, Riot.


Riot shines a spotlight on Australia’s 1970s Gay Rights Movement and the passionate individuals who were unwavering in their fight for decriminalisation, recognition and equality. Lance Gowland, played by Damon Herriman, was a devoted activist, dedicated to actively fighting for his beliefs. With the system against them, Gowland and his fellow activists decided to fight in their celebration of diversity.


An integral part of LGBTQI history in Australia, Riot explores the origins of the activism that led to Australia’s most famous street parade – Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Directed by Jeffrey Walker, the cast also includes, Xavier Samuel as Jim Walker, Kate Box as Margaret McMann and Jessica de Gouw as Robyn Plaister – some of the original 1978ers, who still proudly participate in the parade every year.



ABC Head of Scripted Production Sally Riley says, “Riot promises to be a stirring, landmark television event in time for the 40th anniversary of the birth of Mardi Gras.”


Riot will examine a hugely significant milestone in Australian history that is both culturally and socially important.” said Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia. “Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of Lance Gowland’s passing and now is the perfect time to tell the story of this iconic and highly effective activist.”


Filming will take place in and around Sydney over the next four weeks.  Riot will screen on ABC in 2018.


At a time when our human rights and equality is once again in the spotlight with the highly politicised marriage equality debate and upcoming discriminatory postal vote, this film seems to be landing at just the right time.



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