Killing Time/Fannie's Film

Two films by Fronza Woods, Preserved by the Academy Film Archive

US | 1979 | 15 minutes | BW | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 00646


Part of the mediamaking movement that first gave centrality to the voices and experiences of African American women during the late Seventies and early Eighties, these two re-releases are no less groundbreaking today. KILLING TIME, an offbeat, wryly humorous look at the dilemma of a would-be suicide unable to find the right outfit to die in, examines the personal habits, socialization, and complexities of life that keep us going. In FANNIE'S FILM, a 65-year-old cleaning woman for a professional dancers' exercise studio performs her job while telling us in voiceover about her life, hopes, goals, and feelings. A challenge to mainstream media's ongoing stereotypes of women of color who earn their living as domestic workers, this seemingly simple documentary achieves a quiet revolution: the expressive portrait of a fully realized individual.


“Stunning. A brutal, brilliant allegory for women and film.”

Manohla Dargis, New York Times

"Killing Time is an unforgettable ten-minute short plumbing the art of everyday horror. The nonchalant mood not only creates deadpan wit but also knowingly hints at a deeper truth: that the alienation of women of color from U.S. society had become surreally normalized."

Village Voice

"Very simply, one of the best short films that I’ve ever seen”

Richard Brody The New Yorker

“ the end, you are mezmerized by the film”

Cahiers du Cinéma

"What is marvelous about this film is that it makes clear that Fannie Drayton has got a life outside her job, and that she uses her skills to beautify her home and to maintain her financial independence, and that what she really loves is that other life and that independence." Valerie Smith

Valerie Smith Interviewed in Iris: A Journal About Women

"Women Make Movies' re-release of Fronza Woods' films is an important milestone in documenting the historical contribution of African American women to the annals of independent filmmaking."

Michelle Materre Media Consultant and Curator

“With this fifteen-minute portrait, Woods isn’t interested in condescendingly canonizing its principal; rather, she makes the mundane facts of Drayton’s life indelible."

Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice

" extraordinary 15-minute documentary"

Craig Hubert Hyperallergic

"Killing Time (1979) and Fannie's Film (1982) are among the best short films ever made"

The New Yorker

"Quiet blasts from a late-heard past, Woods’s short films swell with knowing generosity and subtext, looking like two films from an alternative reality that cinema and history are still not fully opened up to."

Brooklyn Magazine


  • Silver Medal, The Festival of the Americas/The Houston International Film Festival
  • Whitney Museum of American Art
  • American Film Festival, New York City
  • Créteil International Women's Film Festival
  • Metrograph (NYC)
  • BAMcinématek
  • The Brooklyn Museum of Art
  • Roxie Theater
  • Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) London


Fronza Woods

Fronza Woods was born, raised and educated in Detroit, spent most of her active professional years in Manhattan and is maturing, as creatively as possible, in the southwest of France. A writer-filmmaker in her own right, she has worked as camerawoman on numerous independent films, was assistant sound engineer on John Sayles' feature "The Brother from Another Planet", been a script reader for HBO, and taught basic filmmaking at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where she also created and curated an outreach film program for the city’s black community. (03/19)


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