Gillian Armstrong

Director, Screenwriter, Producer
A gifted and award-winning filmmaker from Australia, Gillian Armstrong first garnered attention with her debut feature, "My Brilliant Career" (1979), which helped propel her to international recognition. The film's ... Read more »
Born: 12/17/1950 in Australia

Filmography

Director (24)

One Hundred a Day 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

love, lust & lies 2009 (Movie)

(Director)

Death Defying Acts 2008 (Movie)

(Director)

Charlotte Gray 2001 (Movie)

(Director)

Oscar and Lucinda 1997 (Movie)

(Director)

Not Fourteen Again 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

Little Women 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

The Last Days of Chez Nous 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Fires Within 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

Bingo, Bridesmaids and Braces 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

High Tide 1987 (Movie)

(Director)

Bob Dylan in Concert 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Director

Mrs. Soffel 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

Not Just a Pretty Face 1982 (Movie)

(Director)

Starstruck 1982 (Movie)

(Director)

My Brilliant Career 1980 (Movie)

(Director)

A Busy Kind of Bloke 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Fourteen's Good, Eighteen's Better 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Touch Wood 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

The Singer and the Dancer 1975 (Movie)

(Director)

Smokes and Lollies 1974 (Movie)

(Director)

Gretel 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

Satdee Night 1972 (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (9)

love, lust & lies 2009 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Not Fourteen Again 1996 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Not Just a Pretty Face 1982 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Busy Kind of Bloke 1979 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Fourteen's Good, Eighteen's Better 1979 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Touch Wood 1979 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Singer and the Dancer 1975 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Smokes and Lollies 1974 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Gretel 1973 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (5)

love, lust & lies 2009 (Movie)

(Producer)

Not Fourteen Again 1996 (Movie)

(Producer)

Bingo, Bridesmaids and Braces 1988 (Movie)

(Producer)

Fourteen's Good, Eighteen's Better 1979 (Movie)

(Co-Producer)

The Singer and the Dancer 1975 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (4)

A Busy Kind of Bloke 1979 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Fourteen's Good, Eighteen's Better 1979 (Movie)

Interviewer (Actor)

Smokes and Lollies 1974 (Movie)

Interviewer (Actor)

Promised Woman 1973 (Movie)

Nurse (Actor)
Art Department (2)

The Trespassers 1976 (Movie)

art direction (Art Director)

Promised Woman 1973 (Movie)

art direction (Art Director)
Music (1)

Starstruck 1982 (Movie)

music selection (Music)

Biography

A gifted and award-winning filmmaker from Australia, Gillian Armstrong first garnered attention with her debut feature, "My Brilliant Career" (1979), which helped propel her to international recognition. The film's release gave Armstrong the distinction of being the first woman to helm a feature-length movie in her homeland in almost 50 years. Coupled with the themes of "My Brilliant Career," she was threatened from the outset with being pigeonholed as a so-called feminist director, a tag that Armstrong vehemently refused to accept. Meanwhile, she built on her success with the light and frothy "Starstruck" (1982) and the true-to-life "Mrs. Soffel" (1984), both of which allowed her to explore female protagonists striking out on their own, albeit in vastly different situations. Not strictly a narrative filmmaker, Armstrong helmed the occasional documentary, starting with "Smokes and Lollies" (1975), which focused on three working-class adolescents' dreams and aspirations. She returned to the same subjects over the ensuing decades, with Armstrong exploring them as they grew into adults and had teenage children of their own. But narrative filmmaking remained her main focus. She had one of her greatest critical successes with a rich and compelling remake of "Little Women" (1994), which she followed with well-crafted films like "Oscar and Lucinda" (1997) and "Charlotte Gray" (2001). Though often denying any favoritism toward period films focused on independent female protagonists, there was no doubt that Armstrong was a great practitioner of those exact kinds of films.

Relationships

John Pffefer

Companion
father of her two daughters

Billie Pffefer

Daughter
born c. 1985

EDUCATION

Swinburne Technical College of Advanced Education

1971
earned diploma

Australian Film Television and Radio School

1973
attended on scholarship

Milestones

1997

Directed the adaptation of Peter Carey's award-winning novel "Oscar and Lucinda"

1996

"Not Fourteen Again", a feature version of her documentaries that followed three women from their teens to adulthood released in Australia

1994

Helmed the remake of "Little Women"

1991

Removed her name from "Fires Within" when MGM edited the film

1988

Completed third installment of documentary begun in 1975 following the lives of three teenage girls, "Bingo, Bridesmaids and Braces"

1987

Reunited with Judy Davis on "High Tide"

1986

US TV directing and producing debut, "Bob Dylan in Concert" for HBO

1984

First Hollywood feature, "Mrs. Soffel"

1980

Wrote, directed and produced the documentary "Fourteen's Good, Eighteen's Better", a sequel to "Smoke and Lollies"

1978

Feature directorial debut, "My Brilliant Career", starring Judy Davis; became the first woman in 50 years to direct a feature in Australia

1976

First documentary as producer, "The Singer and the Dancer" (also director)

1975

Shot documentary "Smoke and Lollies"

1974

First credit as art director, "Promised Woman" (also first film appearance, played a nurse)

1972

Worked as an editor for Kingcroft Productions

1970

Debut as director, producer and screenwriter, 8-minute short, "Roof Needs Mowing"

1970

Made three short films while in school (including "Gretel")

Bonus Trivia

.

"The whole women's thing should be buried by now. I had to speak out as the only woman filmmaker in 50 years in [Australia]. It's putting me in a ghetto to always be hit with the women's questions." --Gillian Anderson in DETOUR MAGAZINE, December 1997-January 1998

.

"One thing I'm very sensitive about--and have been since film school--is this preconception about women film directors. We're always seen as having to be the little mother on the set, which is the last thing I ever was. Actually, I have wonderful people on my production crew who mother and look after me, and many of them are men." --Armstrong quoted in DGA MAGAZINE, September-October 1995

.

"The script is everything. But I am finding at the moment that American scripts, of which I am reading dozens at the moment, tend to be mostly formula. Time and time again when I read something that has an extra edge to it, in which characters have more depth, it has been adapted from a book." --quoted in SIGHT AND SOUND, April 1995

.

"Hollywood IS hard on women. It's still that terrible cliche that when men stand up for what they believe in it's considered artistic expression; a woman is being a troublemaker and a bitch." --to Ruth Reichl in THE NEW YORK TIMES, March 8, 1995

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