Tony Ayres (born July 16, 1961) is a Portuguese Macau-born Australian showrunner, screenwriter, director in television and feature film. He is most notable for his films Walking on Water and The Home Song Stories, as well his work in television, including working as the showrunner on The Slap and teen adventure series Nowhere Boys.
On July 16, 1961, Ayres was born in Portuguese Macau (now in China). In 1964, Ayres mother married an Australian sailor and migrated her family to Perth, Western Australia.
In 1972, when Ayres was 11 years old, his mother committed suicide. She was a nightclub singer.
Ayres' stepfather died of a heart attack three years after the death of his wife, and two days before he was due to remarry. Ayres and his older sister briefly lived with their stepfather's former fiancee, before being placed in the care of Ayres' history teacher. They then moved to Canberra, ACT with their guardian, whom Ayres' sister later married. Ayres' 2007 film The Home Song Stories is loosely based on this early period of his life.
Ayres studied photography and printmaking at the Australian National University in Canberra, before working as an exhibition curator. He later completed postgraduate studies in film and video at the Swinburne Film and Television School (now the University of Melbourne Faculty of VCA and MCM School of Film and Television) in Melbourne, Victoria.
He is openly gay.
In feature films, Ayres' first feature Walking on Water won the "Teddy Award" at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2002 and won 5 AFI awards. His second feature film, The Home Song Stories, also premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and won 24 Australian and international awards including 8 AFI Awards.
Ayres was the showrunner and director of the 8 x 1 hour miniseries The Slap, which won five AACTA Awards, including Best Miniseries or TV Movie, and was nominated for a BAFTA and International Emmy. His other credits include producing the comedy series Bogan Pride with Rebel Wilson, and directing the telemovie Saved. Ayres was the showrunner for the ABC3 show Nowhere Boys, as well as Executive Producer on Old School and Devil's Playground.