Pamela Hogan’s ‘The Day Iceland Stood Still’ Debuts Trailer newsbhunt

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Variety has been given exclusive access to the trailer (below) for “The Day Iceland Stood Still,” ahead of the film’s world premiere at Hot Docs on April 29.

When Oct. 24, 1975 was declared as “Women’s Day Off” in Iceland, some 90% of the island’s women refused to work, cook or take care of the children. The country was brought to a standstill.

“The Day Iceland Stood Still,” directed by Emmy award-winning U.S. filmmaker Pamela Hogan in collaboration with Icelandic producer Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir, looks back at the event and speaks to Icelandic women about its significance. “We loved our male chauvinist pigs,” recalls one of the activists. “We just wanted to change them a little!”

The film features a rare interview with Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the world’s first democratically-elected female head of state, who took office just five years after the strike, and current president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, who tells a story about his father’s tragic attempt to cook the family dinner on strike day.

The film provides some social context for the strike. Former supreme court chief Justice Guðrún Erlendsdóttir remembers being told she couldn’t go to law school because “you’ll be married before you’re 18,” and farmer Ágústa Þorkelsdottir, incensed that women couldn’t join the Farmers’ Association unless they were widows, wondered: “Do I have to kill my husband to be recognized as a farmer?”

Hogan comments: “I discovered this story seven years ago in a sidebar of the ‘Lonely Planet’ guide on a family trip to Iceland and raced to my computer to find the film that must have been made about it.”

She found no such film existed.

Hogan adds: “Werner Herzog says that certain stories ‘come at you and demand to be told – like the burglar who broke into your house overnight and rushes at you.’ That’s what this was like for me.

“Then I spent time with some of these feminist pioneers, and when I discovered how they used humor strategically to open people’s ears to their message, I thought – this film could actually be fun!”

The film has a score by Icelandic rock singer Margrét Rán and animated sequences by artist Joel Orloff. Musician Björk has contributed an end credits song.

First Lady of Iceland, Canadian Eliza Reid, who saw the fine-cut at a sneak preview screening in Reykjavik, calls it “uplifting, compelling, humorous, and most of all, inspiring — just like the women who feature in this story.”

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