Shining the spotlight on Australia’s 1970s Gay Rights Movement and the passionate individuals who were unwavering in their fight for decriminalisation, recognition and equality, the highly anticipated telemovie Riot will screen on ABC and ABC iview this February.
Directed by Jeffrey Walker and starring an outstanding line up of Australian talent, headlined by Damon Herriman, Kate Box, Xavier Samuel and Jessica de Gouw, Riot is a powerful and moving telemovie reflecting an important chapter in Australia’s LGBTQ history. Based on real people and real events, it explores the origins of the activism that led to Australia’s most famous street parade.
Lance Gowland (Damon Herriman) is a devoted activist, steadfast and dedicated to actively fighting for his beliefs while juggling family, work and relationships. With the system against them and ever-present adversity, including police brutality, legislative persecution, social shunning, job dismissal and general violence, Gowland and his fellow activists decide to come out fighting in their celebration of diversity.
Over the years, their resolve is tested, and by 1978, when the push to decriminalize homosexuality has seemingly stalled, they decide on a new tactic of a celebratory mardi gras in hopes of garnering wider public support. Securing a permit for a legal protest, on the evening of 24 June, in recognition of Gay Solidarity Day, a small but passionate group collect behind a truck driven by Lance, to stage a street party and joyfully declare their pride.
The night will be marked by great violence, but the ramifications will pave the way for equality, and the establishment of a world-renowned parade that continues to celebrate the spirit of these brave, pioneering men and women.
“It could never be more relevant than now to tell this story of identity, courage and love as a marginalised community finds its voice and rises up to fight oppression and injustice,” says ABC Head of Scripted Production, Sally Riley. “With a cast as extraordinary as this, Riot promises to be a stirring, landmark television event in time for the 40th anniversary of the birth of Mardi Gras.”
Riot will screen on ABC and ABC iview on Sunday 25 February at 8.30pm. For more information, visit: www.abc.net.au for details. View the trailer below.
Image: Damon Herriman stars as Lance Gowland in Riot – courtesy of ABC TV