In her former life as an actress, Rachel Ward was the recipient of several International drama awards and nominations, which includes two Golden Globe nods.
She's starred in a number of International films throughout the last 20 years including Against All Odds, Dead men Don't Wear Plaid, After Dark My Sweet, How to Get Ahead in Advertising and The Umbrella Woman. Rachel is probably most well known for her portrayal of Meggie Cleary in one of the most successful mini-series of all time, The Thorn Birds.
"After Joe was born, who was my last child, I enrolled in a Communications course at UTS and that was to change my life."
Today Rachel focuses her experience and knowledge of film making into writing and directing, moving from two short films, Blindman's Bluff and The Big House, to the acclaimed SBS short feature film Martha's New Coat. In 2005 she directed Heart Attack from Channel 9's popular television show Twisted Tales starring Greta Saatchi.
Rachel won the Australian Critic's Circle Award for two of her short films, The Big House and Martha's New Coat, but both of these films where also nominated for a number of other top Australian awards in their respective years. The AFI awarded The Big House, Best Short Fiction Film in 2001 and Martha's New Coat was a Dendy finalist in 2003. All three of her shorts were sold commercially and screened in International festivals and competitions, such as Sundance and the Clemont Ferrand.
In 2008, Rachel adapted and directed, Beautiful Kate, a novel by American author, Newton Thornburg. Starring Ben Mendleson, Rachel Griffith and Bryan Brown. Released by Village Roadshow in August 2009, Beautiful Kate was nominated for 10 AFI Awards and was invited to screen at both the Sydney and Toronto Film Festivals.
In 2009 Rachel directed three episodes of My Place, a TV series produced by Penny Chapman and in 2010 she directed two episodes of Rake an ABC mini series starring Richard Roxburgh. She has just finished directing several episodes of another Penny Chapman project The Straits, which will air early next year. Rachel is patron of the YWCA and has helped raise over $5 Million for various family support services and Arts Development programmes.
"From the minute I arrived in Australia, my work opportunities were minimal," she says. "Australia was very much at that point of discovering its own voice. Rightly so. And all the films were really examining who Australians were. And there I was. You know, the personification of the imperial lass. And we had really moved on from that here. It really made me have to rethink my career options. So after Joe was born, who was my last child, I enrolled in a Communications course at UTS and that was to change my life."
Image: Peter Brew-Bevan