Gay rights telemovie, Riot, for ABC.

Filming is underway in Sydney on a gay rights movement telemovie, Riot, for ABC.

Dramatising Australia’s 1970s Gay Rights Movement and the individuals who were unwavering in their fight for decriminalisation, recognition and equality, it stars Damon Herriman plus Xavier Samuel, Kate Box and Jessica de Gouw.

Written by Greg Waters, produced by Werner productions and directed by Jeffrey Walker, the project will shoot in Sydney over the next 4 weeks.

ABC Head of Scripted Production Sally Riley says “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. 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.”

On behalf of Werner Film Productions, writer Greg Waters expressed that “At a time when the struggle for LGBTQ rights is far from over, it was a privilege to explore the lives of pioneering activists who sacrificed so much to drag Australia towards equality.”

It will air in 2018.

Lance Gowland 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, Gowland and his fellow activists decide to come out fighting in their celebration of diversity.

An important, integral and inspiring part of LGBTQ history in Australia and the world, Riot explores the origins of the activism that led to Australia’s most famous street parade.

“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 in the safe hands of Joanna Werner and Louise Smith – who have an exceptional track record for creating high quality local drama – now is the perfect time to tell the story of this iconic and highly effective activist.”

Create NSW CEO Michael Brealey said, “Riot’s true tale of the rich LGBTQ history in Sydney will undoubtedly strike a chord across the country. As we strive to increase the awareness, voice and participation of under-represented groups across the Australian screen and industry, we’re excited to be a part of this production and look forward to its timely premiere next year.”


  1. Will they mention me? I put my job at risk in 1982 and 1984 writing to the Daily Telegraph, Sun Herald and Sydney Morning Herald calling for gay law reform. After the first letter I heard something during the night while I was sleeping, a hubcap falling on concrete. I used to park my car in the driveway out the front. A few weeks later I took the car in for service and the mechanic told me that the nuts on the wheels had all been loosened to the start of the bolts and that if I had driven any longer the wheels would have come off and I would have been killed.

  2. Kudos to ABC for embarking on another production detailing minorities and telling a piece of Australia history! Sounds reminiscent of “When we Rise” which was on our screens recently.

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