A gifted and award-winning filmmaker from Australia, Gillian Armstrong first garnered attention with her debut feature, My Brilliant Career (1979). The film propelled her to international recognition and earned her several awards, including the London Critics Circle Special Achievement Film Award. 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. She built on her success with the musical film 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.
Armstrong began her career directing shorts and documentaries, first garnering critical praise for the documentary short Smokes and Lollies (1975), which focused on three working-class adolescents’ dreams and aspirations. Anderson returned to the same subjects over the ensuing decades. 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). .