Rebecca Varidel
25th Feb 2023

Bronte Pictures to produce 1978 - feature film by Dr Who and Wentworth screenwriter Pete McTighe.

A bold musical romance based on true events during the birth of Sydney’s famous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

The screenplay takes the key narrative moments in the birth of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and reimagines them in musical form. Using song and dance, the filmmakers intend to provide its audience with a big screen experience.

Set in the heart of Kings Cross, the film explores the now infamous riots, community response and the internal conflict within the community leading up to the first every Mardi Gras parade. Against the backdrop of what would become a major civil rights milestone, 1978 is at its heart, a coming-of-age love story.

“This film has been in the works for quite some time. It’s something so special and a film we are so proud to be producing” says Managing Director of Bronte Pictures, Blake Northfield.

“Pete has penned an incredibly moving screenplay and it’s a privilege to be working with him on this” he adds.

“What a project to be a part of!" responds McTighe.

“Most of us in the LGBTQ+ community are very aware that the freedom we enjoy in Australia today was forged in the fires of conflict, decades ago, by those brave enough to march the streets and fight for our rights.

“This film is a love letter to a turbulent time in our political history, celebrating the people who changed our society for the better. With dancing!

“It’s a story of romance born amid the conflict, a message of hope and joy that we hope will resonate with audiences all across the world.”

Pete McTighe is a writer/executive producer, best known for work on premium international genre dramas like Doctor Who, A Discovery of Witches, The Rising and Glitch. He is the writer/creator/showrunner of The Pact, the acclaimed BBC mystery thriller and was also the originating writer of the multi-award-winning prison drama Wentworth, which screened internationally on Foxtel in Australia and internationally on Netflix for nine seasons. He also directs and has helmed various pieces of Doctor Who promotional short fiction for BBC Studios.

Bronte Pictures’ current slate includes nine feature films in market, three in post-production and one in pre-production, with five including 1978 in development.

It is expected that 1978 will commence principal photography in early 2024 and will be filmed in Australia. Additional key creatives will be announced in the second half of 2023.