Director Ruth Cullen
Director Ruth Cullen


Ruth is one of Australia’s most acclaimed documentary filmmakers. Her most recent films include: the television series About Men (Series Dir.) and the documentaries Painted Lady (Prod/Dir.), which explores the world of artist Vali Myers, and Becoming Julia – fast cars and a sex change (Prod/Dir.) which followed a macho Aussie farmer through his sex change into Julia.

Other recent directing work includes the television series High Steaks (Series Dir.) and Heat In The Kitchen (Series Dir.). She is the producer of You Only Live Twice – the incredibly true story of the Hughes Family which will screen on the ABC in 2010.

Ruth’s films have screened all over the world including the prestigious IDFA (Amsterdam), Montreal, Los Angeles, Sydney & Melbourne, Film Festivals. She is a board member of the Australian Directors’ Guild (ADG) and has worked as an industry consultant to Screen Australia, and as an Executive Producer in Arts, Entertainment and Comedy for the ABC. She is currently the Head of Documentary at Australia’s premier film school The Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS)

Selected Credits

You Only Live Twice – the incredibly true story of the Hughes familyProducer
A bohemian cultural history through the eyes of this maverick Australian dynasty
55 mins, ABC, TX 2010
Winner: Best Documentary under 1 hour 2010 AFI’s

About Men – Series Director
3 x 1 hrs on men from babies to old age. Prod. Co. Iris Pictures, SBS TX 2009

High Steaks – Series Director
3 x ½ hrs series on Neil Perry as he takes on the world.
SBS, Lifestyle 2006 Producer Sonja Armstrong, Prod. Co. Essential Viewing.

The 2 of Us, Libity & Elizabeth – Director
A warm ab fab tale featuring an aging stripper and her observant daughter
Series based on the popular Sydney Morning Herald column.
SBS 30 mins, 2005 .Exec. Prod. Michael Cordell

The 2 of Us, Suzanne & Moshem – Director
Explores the co-dependant relationship between an impassioned refugee advocate and the Iranian man she rescued. A scathing look at our refugee policy
30 mins SBS 2005 Exec. Prod. Michael Cordell,

Heat in The Kitchen – Series Director / co-writer
The hats are off as we get behind the reviewing process and into the
kitchens of 3 top Sydney chefs. Featuring celebrity chef Matt Moran, this series launched the TV careers of chef Luke Nguyen and food critic Matthew Evans.
SBSi , Lifestyle UK & Australia – 5 x ½ hour, 2005. Prod. Co. Sonja Armstrong Productions.

Becoming Julia – Producer / Director / Writer / Camera
Fast cars and a sex change as Bathurst farmer Paul becomes Julia.
52 mins, SBSi 2003
Sydney Film Festival (Finalist – audience favourite) Melbourne, Wellington, Film Festivals

Painted Lady – Producer / Director / Writer / Camera
A sequel to Ruth’s acclaimed documentary The Tightrope Dancer
27 mins (ABC & SBS)

The Tightrope DancerProducer / Writer / Director
This documentary introduced the cult artist and adventurer Vali Myers to Australian audiences.
National theatrical release (Ronin Films) & ABC . 58 mins 1990. Festivals include : IDFA (competition) & Montreal
Nomination: “Best Documentary” 1990 AFI Awards

Paying Our Dues - Writer / Director
Documentary about immigrant women and trade unions. 30 mins, SBS TV

Australia Daze – Contributing Director
A day in the life of Australia. Filmed by 20 of Australia’s top documentary directors.
Director:. Pat Fiske. 75 mins, 16mm. ABC & Ch 4

Landmines a Love StoryEditor (with Andrea Lang)
Feature documentary by Dennis O’Rourke on landmines in Afghanistan.
ABC Ch 4 (UK) 2004.
Winner: “Best Documentary” 2005 AFI Awards

Helen’s WarEditor (with Steve Weslake)
Documentary about nuclear activist Helen Caldicott.
Sonja Armstrong Productions, SBS CBC (Canada) & ZDF, 2004
Winner 2004 Dendy Award “Best Documentary” & AFI Award for “Best Directing”

Criminals – editor
Documentary feature directed. by Oscar Winner Joseph Strick.
Festivals include: Venice, Edinburgh 75 mins


Genre in Documentary – non fiction
Lumina, Issue 3, AFTRS 2010

It Was Simply Divine - fiction
Detour Magazine, March 1990, USA

Rent Day fiction
VOICES Quarterly Journal, Autumn, the National Library of Australia, 1991

Shadows -
The Relations Column”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22/6/98

Seeing The Light
“The Relations Column” The Sydney Morning Herald 23/8/99

Why A Tampon is Not Just A Tampon
Opinion Page, The Sydney Morning Herald & The Age, 15/02/2000

Black & White Issues
Web Diary, Sydney Morning Herald, 16/11/2000

Awards & nominations


LANDMINES A LOVE STORY – editor (with Andrea Lang)

BECOMING JULIA – producer/ director
finalist audience favourite Sydney International Film festival 2003

HELEN’S WAR – editor (with Steve Weslake)
Winner 2004 Dendy Awards & winner AFI “Best Direction in a Documentary”

THE TIGHTROPE DANCER – producer/director
Nomination: Best Documentary 1990 AFI Awards

Winner of many international awards including BEST SHORT Athens Film Festival 1992, Best Documentary Utah Short Film Competition 1992

AUSTRALIA DAZE – contributing director
Winner: Best Editing 1988 AFI Awards

Nomination: Best Film 1989 AFI Awards

HALF LIFE – sound editor
(Dir. Dennis O’Rourke) Winner of many international awards Including Jury Prize (Best Film) & Berlinale Peace Prize Berlin Film Festival 1988

COULDN’T BE FAIRER – co-editor
(Dir. Dennis O’Rourke) Winner 1988 ATOM Award for Best Documentary