ABC’s 78ers Telemovie ‘Riot’ Won Big At The AACTA Awards


ABC telemovie Riot has won three awards at this year’s Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards in Sydney on Wednesday night.

The movie depicted the 78ers, the group of original Mardi Gras activists, and their fateful June 1978 march which was violently broken up by police. Fifty-three of the marchers were arrested, beaten and publicly shamed.

Riot was nominated for 11 AACTAs and won Best Telefeature or Miniseries, with stars Damon Herriman and Kate Box also winning Best Lead Actor and Actress in a Television Drama respectively.

Accepting her award, Box said, “We shot Riot in the lead-up to the marriage equality vote, which was a pretty rough time for a lot of people in the community.

“Having a place of work to go to that honoured this community was actually a complete lifesaver to me.

“To the 78ers, I thank you for your fight and I’m deeply sorry for your pain.”

Box also paid tribute to 78er Marg McCann, who she played in the film, and her daughter Nicole.

“To Nicole, playing your mum was truly one of the greatest privileges of my life. Marg was the first gay Australian to win unconditional custody of their kids,” she said.

“Nicole, because of the fight that you put up as a fierce, young, awesome girl, my family is safe, and I will never take that for granted.”

Damon Herriman accepted his award in a video message and dedicated it to Lance Gowland, the 78er he played in the film, and the rest of the 78ers and LGBTIQ activists “who fought to make this country a better place.”

Meanwhile, Kath & Kim stars Jane Turner and Gina Riley reunited their iconic characters on stage at the awards and later presented comedian Hannah Gadsby with the AACTA for Best Performance in a Television Comedy for her internationally acclaimed Netflix special Nanette.

Australian filmmaker Joel Edgerton’s script for gay conversion therapy drama Boy Erased also won the AACTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.

“I wish this movie didn’t exist… One of the big things is we want to end gay conversion therapy,” Edgerton said.

Nicole Kidman also took out the AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boy Erased.

(Photo courtesy of ABC)