Art, Events January 19, 2011 By Sarah Coleman

What do you think accounts for Francesca’s astonishing early maturity as an artist?
People talk about her being really precocious, and she was, but you also have to remember that she was a student of art from a really early age. Her parents were both successful working artists, and she grew up in that environment. The family had a summer home near Florence, and Francesca spent time there as a child, soaking up all the art there. By the time she was 17, she had this vision that seemed beyond her years.

You decided to make a film about the family as a whole. Why did you go in that direction, and what was the process of persuading the Woodmans to participate?
All of them are wonderful artists and I wanted to show their work. A film just about Francesca would be a short, sad film, and I didn’t know what to say about that. Getting the family on board was a long process. We had three years of conversation, on and off, about it. They’d already had people approach them about doing films on Francesca, and they’d declined. The fact that this would be a film about the whole family was important to them, and to me. Still, there was a lot of hesitation. At one point, George asked me, Why do you think we should this? I said, If it was me I wouldn’t do it, I’m a private person that way. Luckily for me they ultimately decided to do it.

Did your understanding of Francesca evolve during the making of the film?
It did. My first impression, being so aware of her biography, was, Oh my god, look at these photos, aren’t they one long suicide note, can’t you see the tragedy of what’s going to happen?

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