Date of Birth: December 18, 1950
"I'm not interested in empty entertainment. It has to have some social worth or concern. But at the same time I don't want to hit people over the head with a brick...." - Gillian Armstrong
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Armstrong's journey into film started at the Swinburne Technical College where she studied the art of stage and costume design. After directing a student play and working on a professional production of Libido, she moved to Sydney where she earned a place at the Australian Film and Television School.
During her studies, she made three student films and worked as an assistant director and art director on several films, including The Removalists. Armstrong was then hired in 1975 to film a documentary about the lives of three 14-year-old Adelaide girls.
In 1979, Armstrong made an auspicious feature-directing debut with My Brilliant Career, about a woman determined to be a writer in 1890s Australia. The film, starring Judy Davis, received international acclaim, winning seven Australian Film Institute Awards including Best Film and Best Direction.
Following a clever musical, Starstruck, in 1982, Armstrong ventured to Hollywood, but found little success outside of her homeland, returning in the late 1980s. Her luck changed in 1993 when she released the critically-acclaimed The Last Days of Chez Nous, a brittle portrait of a love triangle involving a writer, her husband, and her younger sister. Using the success of Last Days, she returned to Hollywood with renewed confidence and filmed Little Women (1994).
Little Women featured strong performances from its leading ladies, Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder and Claire Danes, and earned Armstrong a substantial degree of international recognition after it became one of the most popular films of the year.
Three years later, she released Oscar and Lucinda, starring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett. About two odd individuals who fall in love in 19th-century Australia, the film opened to mixed reactions worldwide. Armstrong continued to work with Blanchett, who starred in her first 21st-century release, Charlotte Gray (2001).
Filmography:Death Defying Acts (2007)