Gary Kildea was born in Sydney, Australia. He started his working life in a film studio as a sound assistant. He later moved into editing working on commercials, dramatic features and documentaries. In the early '70s he moved to Papua New Guinea taking a job as a director/cinematographer for the national film unit.
In 1975 he travelled to England and studied drama film direction at the National Film School of Great Britain. After that he returned to Australia and worked on a series of independent documentaries in the Asia/Pacific region. He came to the Australian National University in Canberra in the mid 80's to work in its Ethnographic Film Unit. He continues to work at the ANU and as an independent documentary filmmaker. In recent years he has also taught filmmaking in the Visual Cultural Studies program at the University of Tromsø, Norway.
Some of his films as director are: The Great Chimbu Pig Festival (1972); Concerning the Lives of the People (1973); Trobriand Cricket - an ingenious response to colonialism (1975); Ileksen (1978); Celso and Cora - a Manila story (1984); Valencia Diary (1991); Man of Strings (1999); Koriam's Law (2005).