Joel Creasey and Em Rusciano join Faustina Agolley and Patrick Abboud to host the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on SBS.

13 February 2017

News Release

The glittering explosion that is the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade will sparkle and shimmer its way onto SBS on Sunday March 5 at 8.30pm. Hosting SBS’s special event broadcast will be returning hosts The Feed’s Patrick Abboud and TV personality, Faustina Agolley, with comedian Joel Creasey and breakfast radio host Em Rusciano also joining this year’s panel.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of the world’s largest, most high profile and much loved LGBTQI celebrations, providing an opportunity to commemorate a universal message of diversity, equal rights, pride and inclusion. Born from a single night of political protest in 1978, the street parade is the spectacular sequinned centrepiece that brings a three-week long calendar of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festivities and events to a close.

SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald said: “The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a very important celebration and social event on the LGBTQI calendar. It is also a significant event for Australia – as the parade celebrates and promotes social cohesion within Australia – and hundreds and thousands of spectators line the streets of Sydney in support of equality, pride and self-expression. 
“SBS is incredibly proud to be broadcasting the parade yet again - as it provides a front row seat to the whole of Australia, offering them the opportunity to join into and be a part of this inclusive and spectacular celebration.”
The TV broadcast will include the best of the 2017 floats and costumes in the parade with commentary from Joel Creasey, Em Rusciano, Patrick Abboud and Faustina Agolley. The 90 minute broadcast will feature interviews with celebrity guests plus stories from some of the parade participants - exploring the messages behind the floats, covering issues of sexuality, equality and discrimination that affect the LGBTQI community.
SBS will also get in on the festivities with its very own float and SBS Radio 3 will join forces with Australia's only gay & lesbian radio station, JOY 94.9 for a Mardi Gras weekend simulcast on digital radio and digital television around Australia - including a live broadcast of the parade, which is also available worldwide at sbs.com.au/mardigras.
Viewer tweets will be displayed on screen throughout the television broadcasts, using the official event hashtag #sydneymardigras.
To celebrate the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, SBS will also present a vibrant line-up of fresh and iconic LGBTQI content. SBS, SBS VICELAND, NITV, subscription channel World Movies, SBS Radio, SBS Online and SBS VR have come together to join the fabulous and festive party.

In the lead up and after the parade, SBS will air multi-award winning film Brokeback Mountain (Friday 3 March at 8.30pm), which stars the late and great Australian actor Heath Ledger. On Sunday 5 March at 10pm, SBS will bring audiences the much-loved Australian classic, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, which also features a stellar line up of Australian actors, including Guy Pearce and the late Bill Hunter.
SBS VICELAND will play host to a Monday night movies season in February. The Feed’s Patrick Abboud will present a series of home-grown and international queer screen highlights along with interviews with creators and actors from these movies. Films included in the season are: 52 Tuesdays (Monday, 13 February at 9.30pm), The Chambermaid Lynn (Monday, 13 February at 11pm), Head On (Monday, 20 February at 9.30pm), 54: The Directors Cut (Monday, 20 February at 11pm), Teenage Kicks (Monday 27 February at 9.30pm) and Gerontophilia (Monday, 27 February at 11.30pm).

NITV celebrates Mardi Gras with a host of programming that recognises the LGBTQI community. Starting on Wednesday, February 22 at 9.30pm, is the Australian premiere of MAJOR! This documentary explores the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a formerly incarcerated Black transgender elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of transgender women of colour for over 40 years. Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word (Wednesday, 1 March at 8.00pm) which follows the lives of seven transgender youths hailing from New York, New Orleans and Baltimore and ranging in age, but they share common obstacles and joys. Kumu Hina follows Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word at 11pm and is a about a transgender Native Hawaiian teacher who inspires a young girl to fulfil her destiny of leading the school's male hula troupe even as she struggles to find love and a committed relationship of her own. Then wrapping up NITV’s programming is Fire Song (Thursday 2 March at 9.30pm) a thoughtful and moving debut feature by Adam Garnet Jones that focuses on a young Anishinaabe man at a crossroads.

From 15 February, SBS On Demand’s exclusive collection The Queer Binge will showcase some of the best LGBTQI themed programs from around the world, available to all Australians to watch anytime, anywhere and for free. The collection includes hit UK drama Hit & Miss starring Chloë Sevigny, Swedish crime thriller Eyewitness, and SBS VICELAND’s Gaycation with Ellen Page. Award-winning global films will also be featured, including Carmin Tropical (2014), That’s Not Us (2015), Four Moons (2014), Daddy (2015), Beginners (2011), and Head On (1998), while Irish film Viva (2015) will be available from 17 February, Lovesong (2016) from 21 February and Teenage Kicks (2016) from 23 February.

Starting on March 1, SBS On Demand will bring audiences the highly anticipated U.S. drama, When We Rise. Written and created by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk), When We Rise chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, set-backs and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today. The series features Guy Pearce, Rachel Griffins, Mary-Louise, Michael Kenneth Williams Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg.

After airing on SBS On Demand, When We Rise will make its Australian T.V. debut on SBS starting Saturday 11 March from 8.30pm with encores on SBS VICELAND from Thursdays at 9pm from March 16.

Starting Monday 20 February at 8.30pm, World Movies returns with a celebration of the best Queer Cinema. First in this six-film special is Barash, an Israeli film exploring the relationship between two high school girls. Following this film is La Belle Saison, a luminous and evocative French romance set in the turbulent 1970s. In Paris 05:59, we follow the night of two gay men who meet in a club, following their activities as they get to know each other during the next two hours. Boulevard, Robin Williams’ last on-screen appearance, tells of a married man's long-suppressed sexual identity slowly emerging when he picks up a male escort and pays him for companionship rather than sex. Tamara is a Venezuelan film telling the story of Teo Almanza’s journey of gender reassignment and explores Teo?s desire to become a woman whilst struggling against societal taboos and inner conflict. Capping off the Queer Cinema special is Tomcat, a story exploring changing relationships between an established gay couple, when one of them inexplicably kills their beloved cat.

SBS Sexuality will feature behind-the-scenes exclusives of Mardi Gras, festival highlights, interviews, and personal stories surrounding Pride. For everything else LGBT+, you can check out the Sexuality site year-round, at www.sbs.com.au/sexuality.
SBS VR will release an exclusive 360° video inviting viewers to join iconic Australian drag performer Maxi Shield for a unique experience of the 2016 Mardi Gras. The VR experience will be available on the SBS VR app – free to download for Apple iOS and Google Android – from Monday, 27 February, 2017.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras airs on SBS at 8.30pm, Sunday 5 March.

The 2017 Mardi Gras Parade: Full Live Stream will be available Saturday 4 March at 7pm on SBS On Demand. Please note the full stream does not include any of the above mentioned hosts or packages and is just a straight feed of the parade.

For more on The Queer Binge visit: sbs.com.au/ondemand/programs/the-queer-binge from February 15.
# # #