Russell started his career in the Motion Picture Industry in 1965 as office boy with the Greater Union Organization in Adelaide. Shortly thereafter he accepted an offer to be Assistant Projectionist at the Majestic Theatre in Adelaide. When the opportunity arose to be a despatch clerk at United Artist he accepted, ultimately becoming a Film Booker.
In 1974 Russell joined Columbia Pictures as South Australian Branch Manager. With the closure of the Adelaide branch in 1994 he moved to Sydney as Fox Columbia Branch Manager for New South Wales and South Australia. In 1995 he was promoted to National Sales Manger at Fox Columbia.
When Fox and Columbia split in 1996 he joined Fox as National Sales Manager and would finish his career with Fox in 2015 as National Sales Director
Russell has been involved in some of the most diverse and successful films released in Australia, from cult classics ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW and THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY, to popular comedies like THE FULL MONTY and THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, family films from Blue Sky and DreamWorks, to speciality titles like SIDEWAYS, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.
He has been involved with Oscar winners including GANDHI, CHARIOTS OF FIRE and BIRDMAN and audience favourites like STAR WARS, the XMEN titles and box office champions TITANIC and AVATAR
Russell has been awarded an Independent Cinemas Australia Lifetime Achievement Award, an Australian International Movie Conference Lifetime Achievement Award and was named Australian Cinema Pioneer of the Year in 2018.
2019 Russell was elected National President of the Society of Australian Pioneers