When 90% of Iceland’s women decided to go on strike one morning in 1975, they brought their country to its knees and catapulted to #1 on the global gender equality index. Powerfully told by the women who lived it - the true story of 12 hours that sparked a revolution.
40 years ago, the women of Iceland were sick and tired of being underpaid and undervalued for their work inside and outside the home. “At this time women were doing all the housework,” recalls Gudrun Jonsdottir. “They didn’t have education. They didn’t have daycares. Their salaries were much lower than the salaries of men, IF they had any work. Their names couldn’t even be in the phone book!” So when the U.N. proclaimed 1975 “International Women’s Year” Iceland’s women hatched a bold idea: “What if every woman in the country simply took a day off?” And so, on October 24th, 90% of Iceland’s women walked off the job and out of their homes, refusing to work, cook, or take care of the children from noon to midnight – and the country ground to a halt. Initially derided as a joke by many, the strike transformed the national narrative about women’s place in society. One year later, Iceland passed a law outlawing gender discrimination. Five years later, Iceland elected the world’s first female president. Today, Iceland ranks #1 on the global gender equality index.
Our film will bring this inspiring story to life through the memories of the women who were at the heart of it all. We’ll meet these unstoppable characters, portray the opposition they encountered, and discover how they mobilized the entire country at a time when home computers, email and cell phones were nonexistent.
The Long Friday is the true story of 12 hours that sparked a revolution.
This story jumped off the page one day as I was leafing through Lonely Planet’s Guide to Iceland. I couldn’t wait to watch the documentary that someone had surely made about this historic moment. But it didn’t exist – which surprised but didn’t shock me, since during years as an Executive Producer at PBS, I saw how often women’s stories are framed out of the picture. But I also saw how – when they are told – these stories can make such a difference. This is one of those “you can’t make it up” stories of women’s heroism that cries out to be told – and quickly, since with 40+ years ticking away, there’s no time to waste to capture the vivid memories of Iceland’s feminist pioneers.
The story resonates deeply for me because I grew up with a front-row seat at our own 1970s feminist movement and unfinished revolution. I was raised by a single mom, an advertising writer, who struggled to support us on half the wages her male colleagues earned for the same job. She became the first Director of Massachusetts’ NOW; and when I was in high school we lobbied together at the State House for passage of the ERA.
Little did we know that at that very moment, the women of Iceland were dreaming up - and pulling off - a collective action that would catapult them right over our heads and straight to the forefront of today's fight for gender equality.
It’s time for the world to hear their story.
"We at Fork Films love this film and are proud to have come in with the first funding for an R&D grant. The Long Friday recounts one of those overlooked narratives about women’s collective heroism that will have enormous impact when it reaches a global audience through the powerful, moving and often hilarious words of the women who created and lived the historic day that revolutionized their society. It is especially timely in light of all that is going on with the reinvigorated women’s movement globally. But, timing is of the essence to capture some of the leaders who are 80+ to insure this story is not lost to future generations.
I worked closely with Pam Hogan when, together with Abby Disney, we created the acclaimed Women, War & Peace series for PBS and global distribution. Her work helming I Came to Testify for that series is a great example of Pam’s ability to humanize a historical story about a collective experience by focusing in on a handful of individuals who viewers connect with on a deep level. Through that experience I know her to be a consummate journalist and highly skilled visual storyteller, and a resourceful fundraiser. Her multi-faceted talents and deep experience are a match for this ambitious undertaking.
We believe that The Long Friday will be one of those films that have profound impact by unearthing stories, in different times and different contexts, of ordinary women all over the world who have managed to do the unimaginable."
--Gini Reticker, Chief Creative Officer, Fork Films
Pamela Hogan is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and media executive. Her film "Looks like Laury Sounds like Laury" was hailed as one of “The Best TV Shows of 2015” by The New York Times. She was Co-creator and Executive Producer of the groundbreaking PBS series "Women War & Peace", for which she directed the episode "I Came to Testify" about the Bosnian women who changed international law by testifying about wartime rape for the first time in history. The series won the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award for best TV documentary on international affairs and a Television Academy Honor for using television to promote social change, and Hogan’s "I Came to Testify" received the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel for excellence in fostering the American public’s understanding of law. She was Executive Producer of PBS’s acclaimed series "Wide Angle," working with global filmmakers on 70 hours of character-driven documentaries illuminating under-reported stories. While there she originated and shaped the development of the Emmy-winning "Ladies First," about women’s leadership in post-genocide Rwanda; and she launched "Time for School," following 7 children in 7 countries fighting against the odds to stay in school. She has produced for Bill Moyers, directed international co-productions for National Geographic Television, and was Field Producer of NBC’s Peabody award-winning "To Be an American." She was recognized with a 2012 National Council for Research on Women “Making a Difference for Women” award and is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
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