Art, Events January 19, 2011 By Sarah Coleman

It’s hard to look at the work now without thinking about the suicide, but Woodman is more than just a tragic story. She’s an innovative American artist who drew on the surrealist images of Man Ray, and who anticipated explorations into female identity and sexuality by photographers like Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin.
     Like many other people, filmmaker C. Scott Willis had an immediate, strong emotional response to Woodman’s images when he first saw them. An award-winning news producer who was used to making short films on the Middle East conflict and urban riots, Willis dove into new waters with THE WOODMANS, his documentary film about Francesca and her family. “It was a labor of love,” he says of this sensitive, personal film. “I just felt I had to do this.”
     THE WOODMANS, which won the Best New York Documentary award when it premiered last April at the Tribeca Film Festival, is a sweet, searching film about an extraordinary family. As well as presenting a portrait of Francesca through her work (which includes experimental films and diary passages), the film is interwoven with interviews with family members, who discuss Francesca’s talent, the competitive New York art scene and the difficulty of living in a family of artists. Like one of Francesca’s images, the result is a striking, multi-layered portrait that’s doesn’t shy away from difficult questions.

On Wednesday, January 19, THE WOODMANS opens at Film Forum in New York, where it will play for two weeks. We spoke to C. Scott Willis about the film.

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