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Gillian Armstrong AM
, 1973

by Gordon Glenn

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 60.5 cm x 50.4 cm, image: 50.7 cm x 35.2 cm)

Gillian Armstrong AM (b. 1950) studied theatre and film-making at Swinburne Technical College and was a star student at the newly-established Australian Film and Television School in the early 1970s. After several shorts and documentaries she released a full-length 16mm film, The Singer and the Dancer, in 1976. The picture won best narrative film at the 1976 Sydney Film Festival. In 1979 Armstrong directed her first feature, the critically-acclaimed My Brilliant Career - winner of 7 Australian Film Institute awards, including best picture and best director. Her first American film, Mrs Soffel (1984), featured strong performances by Mel Gibson and Diane Keaton. After making several further films in Australia, including High Tide (1987) and The Last Days of Chez Nous (1992), she returned to the US to make the hit Little Women (1995). She has since made Oscar and Lucinda (1997) and Charlotte Gray (2001), both featuring Cate Blanchett, and Death Defying Acts (2007), a film about Houdini starring Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2003
Accession number: 2003.213