He was the son of Rudall and Adelina Heyward, who came to New Zealand in 1905. With Henry John Heywood (1866-1945) Rudall senior’s brother, his parents were involved with entertainment and silent cinema in New Zealand, in West’s Pictures and The Brescians.
Rudall (junior) was educated at Wanganui Collegiate School and the Waihi School of Mines. He worked in Australia c1920 under Raymond Longford (who in 1915-16 was filming in New Zealand), on some of Longford's films: "The Sentimental Bloke", "On Our Selection", and "Rudd’s New Selection". He made his first two-reel comedy The Man from Freeman’s Bay in 1920 (which his uncle Henry offered him £50 to burn!). His first feature was My Lady of the Cave (1922), then Rewi’s Last Stand (1925), The Te Kooti Trail (1927), and The Bush Cinderella (1928). In 1928-30 he made 23 two-reel comedies with local settings and actors at various towns, and titles like: Tilly of Te Aroha, Hamilton’s hectic husbands, A Daughter of Dunedin, Winifred of Wanganui, Natalie of Napier, and Patsy of Palmerston,
After World War II he worked in England, then made his most successful film “The Amazing Dolphin of Opononi” about Opo. He made educational films in New Zealand and overseas, then To Love a Maori (1972), which was shot on 16 mm.