When renowned director Gillian Armstrong was studying film at college the fact she was a woman was not an issue.
However, once she had graduated she saw how difficult it was for her peers when they were pitching projects and meeting with producers and investors.
Armstrong will visit Launceston for the Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival this weekend, speaking about women in film, film-making and her life at the Brilliant Careers, Strong Women session on Sunday.
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While she has received "lots of support for many years", others in film have not, which meant Armstrong became an advocate for the industry's women.
"Because I was involved I had a look at what was going wrong. It's not a level playing field," she said.
"When I went to film school we didn't feel odd. The classes were about 50/50 [men and women] and often more women won awards, but they were not getting their foot in the door.
"They're not getting that initial break in the first four years. That's where we see so many women disappear."
Film festivals like BOFA are helping to turn that tide, with Armstrong saying "everything people do to honour women directors is great".
"I am delighted the 2019 BOFA Film Festival has 55 per cent of its films either directed by or about women... I am sad to say, despite the numbers of award-winning female film graduates [the number of women directors] is still a sorry 18 per cent," she said.
"I am disappointed the figures are so low."
Armstrong is also marking the 40th anniversary of her film My Brilliant Career at the festival, with a special red carpet cocktail party at Drysdale before the screening on Saturday night, where she will catch up with the film's male lead Sam Neill.
At its release My Brilliant Career was the first feature-length movie to be directed by a woman in Australia in almost 50 years.
"It's a really rich and powerful story. Judy Davis and Sam Neill are extraordinary in it. Their charisma and star quality is there," Armstrong said.
"I'm very proud of it."
It also featured Margaret Fink as producer, screenplay by Eleanor Whitcombe, production and costume design by Luciana Arrighi, Jane Scott as line producer and lead actor Judy Davis.
Armstrong has a connection to Tasmania beyond the festival - her mother was a trainee teacher at Queenstown, on the West Coast, and her parents met at Deloraine, where her father was staying in a boarding house.
"I'm really delighted with my [Tasmanian] connection. I'm looking forward to coming."
- WHAT: Red Carpet Cocktail Party and Brilliant Careers, Strong Women session
- WHEN: Saturday, May 18, at 5.30pm; and Sunday, May 19, at 2pm
- WHERE: TasTAFE Drysdale campus, 93 Paterson Street, Launceston
- INFORMATION: breath-of-fresh-air.com.au