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Gillian Armstrong

Certificate Directing, 1973

Gillian Armstrong made her feature debut with My Brilliant Career (1979), which launched the career of Judy Davis and marked the first feature-length film directed by a woman in Australia for almost 50 years. My Brilliant Career premiered to acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival, and films such as Starstruck (1982) and High Tide (1987) followed—the latter starring a young Claudia Karvan.

Gillian made her Hollywood debut with Mrs. Soffel (1984), but it was Little Women (1994) that truly cemented her reputation in the United States. She later teamed up with Cate Blanchett on back-to-back films: Oscar and Lucinda (1997) and Charlotte Gray (2001). Her most recent feature was the documentary Women He’s Undressed, which premiered at the 2015 Sydney Film Festival.  

The first president of the Australian Director’s Guild, Gillian was awarded an ADG Outstanding Achievement Award in 2007, in recognition of her contribution to the film industry over a long career.

Gillian is also a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the Australian film industry.



The most precious thing about my twelve months in the inaugural year at AFTRS was the sympathetic and inspiring staff led by Storry Walton, the friendships with the other eleven young directors and the money to make THREE films with professional crews and casts in that one year. Learning is doing!



So many highlights: wonderful writers, actors and crews… but nothing can beat sitting with an audience that is laughing and crying in the right spots!