Australia is getting a TV movie about gay rights called Riot at a pretty crucial time

Damon Herriman (Cassandra Hannagan/Getty Images)

With the ongoing controversy over equal marriage in Australia showing no signs of slowing down, it’s a pretty appropriate time for a study of gay rights in the country.

So it’s not a big surprise that ABC and Screen Australia have joined forces for Riot, a TV movie about homophobia in the 1970s and the struggle for equal rights.

Riot will be filmed over the next month in Sydney, and ABC are targeting a 2018 release date.

Protesters push for Parliamentary vote on marriage equality

Protesters push for Parliamentary vote on marriage equality (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

Directed by Jeffrey Walker, Riot follows the real-life journey of Lance Gowland at a time of great discrimination against gay people in Australia.

Sally Riley, Head of Scripted Production at ABC, said: “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.”

Damon Herriman plays Gowland, a passionate activist within the gay right movements in Sydney.

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Gowland was born in 1935 into a communist household, where after marriage he found his identity and his true sexuality after leaving his wife.

As a significant figure in the Gay Liberation committees and the Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP) in the 1970s, Gowland fought discrimination throughout the 20th century.

Greg Waters, writer for Werner film Productions, said: “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.”

The difficulties faced in past generations depicted in Riot underline the importance to continue the fight for gay rights today.

same-sex marriage rally in Sydney, Australia

Equal marriage protest (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia, said: “Riot will examine a hugely significant milestone in Australian history that is both culturally and socially important.

“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.”