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The Woodmans
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The Woodmans (2010) More at IMDbPro »


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6.9/10   440 votes »
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Release Date:
18 January 2011 (USA) See more »
The story of a family that suffers a tragedy, but perseveres and finds redemption through each other and their work - making art. | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
What Lies Beneath, A Mystery. See more (9 total) »


  (in credits order)
Francesca Woodman ... Herself (archive footage)
George Woodman ... Himself
Betty Woodman ... Herself
Charles Woodman ... Himself (as Charlie Woodman)
Patricia Sawin ... Herself
Edwin Frank ... Himself
Sloan Rankin ... Herself
Catherine Chermayeff ... Herself
Sabina Mirri ... Herself
Benjamin ... Himself (archive footage)
Glenn Palmer-Smith ... Himself
Robert Kushner ... Himself
Alexander Woodman ... Himself
Andrea Woodman ... Herself

Directed by
Scott Willis  (as C. Scott Willis)
Produced by
Neil Barrett .... producer
Jeff Werner .... producer
Scott Willis .... producer (as C. Scott Willis)
Original Music by
David Lang 
Cinematography by
Neil Barrett 
Film Editing by
Jeff Werner 
Art Direction by
Ekin Akalin 
Art Department
Collin Willis .... graphic artist
Sound Department
Kennedy Wright .... sound designer
Visual Effects by
Eric Reinhard .... lead compositor
Camera and Electrical Department
Greg Andracke .... additional photography (as Gregory Andracke)
Michael Bowles .... photography: Beijing
Richard Coppola .... camera operator: 3d motion capture camera
Philip Geyelin Jr. .... additional photography (as Philip Geyelin)
Magee McIlvaine .... key grip (as Magee McIlvane)
Chad Stayrook .... key grip
Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn .... key grip
Collin Willis .... key grip
Editorial Department
Magee McIlvaine .... assistant editor (as Magee McIlvane)
Todd Sali .... color correctionist
Todd Sali .... on-line editor
Tagui Chilyan .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Royce Jeffries .... assistant engineer
So Percussion .... musicians
Mike Vecchio .... assistant engineer
Lawson White .... original score producer
Lawson White .... original score recordist
Other crew
Michael Bowles .... creative consultant
Rachel Goslins .... creative consultant
Dorothy Batten .... special thanks
Andrew Cockburn .... special thanks
Leslie Cockburn .... special thanks
John Donvan .... special thanks
Sherry P. Geyelin .... special thanks
Katie Homans .... special thanks
Katarina Jerinic .... special thanks
Phil Alden Robinson .... special thanks
Patterson Sims .... special thanks
Mary-Sherman Willis .... special thanks
Alexander Woodman .... special thanks
Andrea Woodman .... special thanks
Betty Woodman .... special thanks
Charles Woodman .... special thanks (as Charlie Woodman)
George Woodman .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
82 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Sloan Rankin:There wasn't a place for her in New York for what she was doing, and how refined she was already as an artist. However, what she did was far ahead of the times. You take the Urban Outfitters catalog and start looking at how they photograph now, take a picture of Francesca's and put them next to each other; and you'll see that the industry has come around to her way of thinking.See more »


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15 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
What Lies Beneath, A Mystery., 10 July 2012
Author: Ken Spiker ( from California

This strange documentary summarizes the lives of avant garde photographer Francesca Woodman and her artistic parents Betty and George. We know from the beginning that Francesca commits suicide and so we're alert to clues. Why do people commit suicide? It's very difficult to know, really, but in some cases we're able to see glaring contradictions in a person's family dynamic. The movie is mostly interviews with the parents. The mom, Betty, in particular, presents a strange and forbidding presence, goggling through thick brightly painted glasses, she seems arrogant and fragile at the same time. A narcissist, of course, but aren't most artists narcissistic?

A major clue is revealed near the beginning of the interview where the mom declares that she has dedicated her life to art and that she couldn't imagine living with a person who wasn't an artist, "I would come to hate that person!" she states. reveling her prejudice and intolerance for non-artists.

The mother's art is mediocre at best, large pottery shapes splotched with crude patterns in primary colors. Perhaps the mother envied the daughter's obvious talent for visual expression.

Most suicides by youngsters are the result of them feeling intolerably pressured by their parents' expectations. In Francesca's case there was a unquestioned directive: be an artist...or else! Francesca created her own style of art: pictures of her own, very attractive, nude body posed against shabby, desiccated interiors or wrapped in old wallpaper. The photographs, many of which are shown in the film, are stark, compelling and ironic. She was obviously very talented. She achieved some notice as a photographer, an artist in her own right, but as any artist must she experienced moments of self doubt. Since Francesca's expression was primarily visual and enigmatic her inarticulate diary excerpts, though quoted throughout, provide little insight into what she was going through. In any case her narrow though striking artistic style was bound to run our of new ideas, being so restricted in subject matter.

At some point Francesca thinks about giving up art and suggests maybe trying another course in life. Her mother is quick to put a stop to that: "That was ridiculous, of course; I told her, 'You can't DO anything else.'" I can only speculate, but the clues are pretty obvious. The talented but unhappy daughter must continue with a course that even she can recognize is a dead end, or face the hatred of her mother. Her therapist, a necessary accessory to people of that class, is useless, and her father, whose art is not at all bad, is a passive participant in the family drama.

As a whole the film is a downer like a slow-moving train wreck. It showcases Francesca's photography and is a sort of introduction to her work, but the intrusion of the parents, who may have been the motivation behind her success and eventually her downfall, is unwelcome except to provide clues to the mystery of her life and death. This film is just too long, it could have expressed the same material in half the time.

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