Icelandic Women’s Strike of 1975 Revisited in New Documentary

The Women’s Day Off protest in 2016 at Austurvöllur square.

The documentary The Day Iceland Stood Still, exploring the 1975 “Woman’s Day Off” strike in Iceland, will premiere at the Canadian Hot Docs Festival in late April. A trailer for the documentary was recently released online.

Country brought to an effective standstill

Earlier this week, the trailer for the documentary The Day Iceland Stood Still was released. As noted by Variety, the documentary delves into the famous “Woman’s Day Off” strike in Iceland on October 24, 1975, “when some 90% of Iceland’s women refused to work, cook, or take care of the children.” The country was brought to an effective standstill.

The documentary revisits the event, interviewing Icelandic women about its significance: “We loved our male chauvinist pigs,” one of the activists recalls in the trailer, Variety notes. “We just wanted to change them a little!”

It also includes an exclusive interview with Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the first woman in the world to be democratically elected as a head of state, who assumed her role just five years post-strike, alongside current president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, who shares an anecdote about his father’s ill-fated effort to prepare dinner during the strike.

The Day Iceland Stood Still will premiere at the Canadian Hot Docs documentary festival on April 29 and is directed by Emmy award-winning U.S. filmmaker Pamela Hogan in collaboration with Icelandic producer Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir.

Read More: Iceland Review looks back on Woman’s Day Off in 1975

Where Can I Watch “A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism?”

Friðrik Þór Friðriksson

Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s 2009 documentary, “A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism” (originally Sólskinsdrengurinn, or “The Sunshine Boy”) was a critically well-received film about autism.

The narrative of the film centers around the mother Margret Dagmar Ericsdóttir and her search for help to understand her son, Keli’s, condition.

Many of Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s films explore the lives of people who are socially marginalized in some way, such as in “Angels of the Universe,” which features a mentally ill artist.

The documentary was also narrated by Kate Winslet and scored by Sigur Rós and Björk.

During the filming of the documentary, actress Kate Winslet and mother Margret Dagmar Ericsdóttir met and together founded the Golden Hat Foundation, a nonprofit organization for raising autism awareness. The organization aims to “change the way people on the autism spectrum are perceived, by shining a light on their abilities and emphasizing their great potential.”

Additionally, a book arose from the nonprofit and film, called “The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism.” It compiled correspondence between Kate Winslet and Margret Dagmar Ericsdóttir, in addition to statements from various celebrities and Margret’s son, Keli.

It may be difficult to find on a major streaming service, so if you want to watch it, then your best bet is likely acquiring it on DVD.

Arctic Fox Gets Starring Role in New Netflix Series

Iceland’s Arctic fox has a starring role in the upcoming Netflix series “Wild Babies,” RÚV reports.

Narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, the eight-part series explores the trials and tribulations of baby animals such as elephants, cuckoos, pangolins, seal pups, mongeese, and macaques in the beginning of their lives.

Arctic fox cub Silver is followed in episode 7, “Hostile Homes,” which also features baby penguins and adolescent lions. The episode, which was shot in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the Westfjords, includes the first-ever footage of Arctic foxes swimming. This is rather remarkable, as the animals famously hate getting wet. However, by overcoming their aversion to immersion, Arctic fox parents are able to catch more prey and thereby increase the chances of their cubs surviving. The episode also shows the cubs learning to swim themselves and hunting for the first time.

The footage for the episode was taken over July and August last year, when the film crew accompanied scientists from the Icelandic Institute of Natural History on their field visits to Hornstrandir. Mammalian biologist Ester Rut Unnsteinsdóttir chose appropriate locations for filming, ensuring that the foxes were respected and undisturbed by the presence of the crew for the duration of the shoot.

“Wild Babies” is on Netflix now.

Rokk í Reyjavík Turns 40

It’s been forty years since Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s seminal documentary Rokk Í Reykjavík (Rock in Reykjavík) was first broadcast, RÚV reports.

The film celebrates the vibrant punk and new wave scene of Iceland’s capital in the early 80s (it was shot in 1981) and features live performances and interviews with 19 bands and artists, most famously a 16-year-old Björk, performing in her first serious band, Tappi Tíkarrass, as well as Bubbi Morthens in his band Egó, and the all-women quartet Grýlunar, headed by Ragga Gísladóttir.

As part of this weekend’s Easter programming, the Rás 2 radio program Rokkland will be dedicated to Rokk í Reykjavík on Easter Sunday. The channel’s Monday programming on the Easter Monday holiday will include interviews discussing the film’s impact and importance.

You can listen to the full soundtrack on YouTube here.

Food and Veterinary Authority Refers Mare Abuse Incident to Police

The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) has completed its investigation of the mistreatment of Icelandic mares during blood collection procedures. Per a press release on its website, the agency has determined that the abuse, which was caught by hidden camera and featured in a YouTube documentary called “Iceland – Land of 5,000 Blood Mares,” constitutes a breach of animal welfare laws. The incident and all related evidence have been turned over to the police.

See Also: MAST Reviewing Footage of Mistreated Mares in YouTube Doc

The documentary was posted in November 2021 by Tierschutzbund Zürich (TSB, Switzerland) and the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF, Germany) and has since received almost 70,500 views. It reports on the activities within so-called “blood farms” in Iceland, where blood is drawn from mares in early pregnancy to extract ECG (previously known as pregnant mare’s serum gonadotropin or PMSG): a hormone commonly used in concert with progestogens to induce ovulation in livestock prior to artificial insemination.

The documentary features footage from hidden cameras showing workers beating and shouting at horses. The filmmakers claim to have discovered “widespread animal-welfare violations” in Iceland, which run counter to claims made by pharmaceutical companies on the nature of blood-collection procedures in the country.

See Also: Blood Harvesting in Mares Four Times More Frequent Than a Decade Ago

In the course of its investigation, MAST contacted both TSB and AWF and requested further information on where and when the video footage had been taken, as well as whatever uncut footage was available. MAST says that in December, it received an open letter from the organizations in which they refused to share uncut footage or confirm filming locations, although they did specify the dates on which the footage had been shot.

Experts at MAST reviewed the documentary footage in detail and were able to determine both the location of the incidents as well as the people involved. The agency sought explanations from the individuals in question and their responses to the video footage. However, although MAST was able to confirm that abuses had taken place, the agency says that without all of the footage, including the uncut material that TSB and AWF refuse to provide, it is limited in its ability to assess the seriousness of the violations or to investigate the case in full.

RIFF Kicks Off with ‘Bipolar Musical Documentary with Elephants’

The 17th annual Reykjavík International Film Festival, or RIFF, will kick off this year on September 24 and, for the first time, will include online screenings and events, Vísir reports.

The festival will open with a night screening of The Third Pole, a “bipolar musical documentary with elephants” by author and former presidential candidate Andri Snær Magnason and visual artist and director Anní Ólafsdóttir.

Per the description on Andri Snær’s website, The Third Pole is “part road movie, part musical, part serious inquiry into the caverns of the mind” and “follows Anna Tara Edwards, an Icelander raised in Nepal, and legendary musician Högni Egilsson, as they journey to Anna’s childhood home in the mountain jungles to explore the afflictions and superpowers that come with bipolar disorder. Delving into their respective pasts through textured archival footage and home videos, the narrative follows their present-day quest to raise awareness about the disease and come to terms with the impact it’s had on their own lives.”

This is Anní Ólafsdóttir’s first feature-length film, but Andri Snær’s second foray into filmmaking, as he previously co-directed Dreamland, a documentary based on his book Dreamland – a Self Help Manual for a Frightened Nation.

RIFF will run from September 24 to October 20, with in-person screenings at Bíó Paradís and the Nordic House in Reykjavík. This year, the festival is also expanding its reach (and responding to the needs of the current moment) by offering online screenings and events as well. The festival will be highlighting European films this year, as the European Film Awards will be presented in Iceland in December.

See more about the festival, including information on the daily program and how to buy tickets (both available soon) in English here.

 

“Iceland Almost Ice-free” Within 200 Years

A ceremony took place on Ok mountain to mourn the now gone Okjökull glacier yesterday. The former glacier was the first Icelandic glacier to officially lose its glacier status, which took place in 2014. A hike onto Ok mountain was organized scientist and scholars from Rice University, who made the documentary ‘Not Ok’, highlighting the glacier’s disappearance. The ceremony was attended by around 100 nature lovers. Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, who wrote the text on Ok’s memorial plaque, joined the service, along with Minister of the Environment Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson.

“I said goodbye to Ok today by vowing to do what I can to prevent the disappearance of more Icelandic glaciers.” – Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson.

Okjökull was the subject of a 2018 documentary called Not Ok, made by Rice anthropologists Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer. Narrated by former Reykjavík mayor and comedian Jón Gnarr According to the filmmakers, scientists fear that all of Iceland’s 400-plus glaciers will be gone by 2200.

Ice-free Iceland
Oddur Sigurðsson, a geologist from the Icelandic Met Institute, was part of the ceremony. According to him, Iceland will largely be ice-free within 200 years. “My co-workers, both at the Icelandic Met Institute and the University of Iceland, have calculated with projections that the expected climate in the next two centuries will lead to all of the glaciers in Iceland melting, more or less. There will maybe be some miniature glaciers on the highest mountain tops but they will disappear within 200 years. So Iceland will then become an almost ice-free country,” Oddur said.

More to follow
A number of glaciers are in severe risk of disappearing in the next couple of years, including Hofsjökull eystri glacier which will disappear within a decade. When asked what other glaciers are in danger of melting completely, Oddur painted a grim picture. “Kaldaklofsjökull, which is ‘behind’ Landmannalaugar if I can say so, Torfajökull, and Þrándarjökull in the East fjords don’t have long left. Then in the wake of those three, Tindfjallajökull and Snæfellsjökull will not handle the warming.” The glaciers on Tröllaskagi peninsula in North Iceland are expected to last a langer as they are largely situated in shadows.

The worldwide attention brought on by Okjökull glacier’s disappearance has not been missed by Icelandic scientists. “Of course it doesn’t matter for the world population, and Iceland neither, whether one small glacier melts completely or not. But it is, however, a clue about this massive event which is taking place in the whole world. And where one disappears, others will follow,” Oddur stated. “Larger glaciers than Okjökull will melt in the near future. I don’t expect us to be able to save them, as things currently stand,” he said in an interview with www.ruv.is

Letter to the future
[media-credit name=”Rice University Press Release” align=”alignnone” width=”860″][/media-credit]

The monument put in place is styled as a “Letter to the future,” and reads:

Ok is the first glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it. August 2019, 415ppm CO2

More information: www.notokmovie.com

NASA Higlights Ok Glacier’s Disappearance on Satellite Photos

Nasa Earth has released a video which showcases the difference in the ice cover of Okjökull glacier between 1986 and 2019 using satellite photos. Okjökull is the first Icelandic glacier to officially lose its status as a glacier.

A memorial service will be held on August 18 to remember the former glacier, which officially lost its glacier status in 2014. A hike onto Ok mountain, where Okjökull glacier previously sat, will be organized scientist and scholars from Rice University. Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, who wrote the text on Ok’s memorial plaque, will be joining the service.

[media-credit name=”Rice University Press Release” align=”alignnone” width=”860″][/media-credit]

The monument is styled as a “Letter to the future,” and reads:

Ok is the first glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it. August 2019, 415ppm CO2

Oddur Sigurðsson, an Icelandic glaciologist, was the first to declare that Okjökull glacier was no longer a glacier. Since 2014, 56 of the 300 total small glaciers have been lost in North Iceland.

Okjökull was the subject of a 2018 documentary called Not Ok, made by Rice anthropologists Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer. Narrated by former Reykjavík mayor and comedian Jón Gnarr According to the filmmakers, scientists fear that all of Iceland’s 400-plus glaciers will be gone by 2200.

“By marking Ok’s passing, we hope to draw attention to what is being lost as Earth’s glaciers expire,” Cymene remarked in the press release. “These bodies of ice are the largest freshwater reserves on the planet and frozen within them are histories of the atmosphere. They are also often important cultural forms that are full of significance.” The monument is said to be the first of its kind in the world.

You can find more information about the documentary and RSVP to take part in the monument ceremony at https://www.notokmovie.com.

Arctic Fox Gets Starring Role in BBC Documentary

Arctic fox cubs in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the Westfjords have a starring role in the new BBC nature series Animal Babies: First Year on Earth, RÚV reports. The series, which began airing earlier this week, follows “six iconic baby animals as they face the challenges of surviving their first year on Earth” and also features the Savannah elephant, mountain gorilla, spotted hyena, Southern sea otter, and toque macaque.

Mammalian biologist Ester Rut Unnsteinsdóttir has studied the Arctic fox for two decades and assisted the BBC with the making of the documentary. She noted that Fela, the fox cub that the series follows, was specifically selected because he has white fur, and therefore easy to differentiate from his siblings, all of whom have black fur. Choosing to follow such an easy-to-spot cub did, however, carry certain risks for the documentarians, Ester said, as many Arctic fox cubs do not live very long.

“It’s not guaranteed that all cubs will survive the whole summer, so to choose a cub that looks different than the others and to always try to find him again was a bit difficult, and people were really stressed about it.”

The name Fela was originally chosen because the documentarians wanted to follow a female cub, but nature did not oblige them in this wish, as Fela is a male cub. “I sat with them for many evenings looking at video where I could see that this wasn’t a female cub. The filmmakers were pretty sad about that, but they made their peace with it,” explained Ester.

Although the documentarians were permitted to film the foxes in Hornstrandir, they were still subject to restrictions that were put in place to protect the animals. One of Ester’s primary roles, she explained, was to ensure that filming proceeded according to the rules that had been set. This is especially important because Arctic foxes that feel that they are being encroached upon will often not take care of their young as well as they would otherwise.

“We set the condition that the foxes are left alone in the evenings and all the way to the morning so that they have the night to rest and hunt,” Ester says.

The filmmakers had also intended to shoot ‘behind the scenes’ footage as extra content and so briefly sent a second team to film the primary team of filmmakers. The foxes, however, were not fond of having so many people in their habitat and so the second team was sent away and the ‘making of’ featurette scrapped.

‘First Glacier Lost to Climate Change’ to be Memorialised

The former Okjökull glacier will be memorialised with a monument recognising its status as “the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier.” A press release from Rice University announced that Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas (US), author Andri Snær Magnason, and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson will join members of the Icelandic Hiking Society and the general public to install the monument to the former glacier in Borgarfjörður, West Iceland on August 18, 2019.

 

[media-credit name=”Rice University Press Release” align=”alignnone” width=”860″][/media-credit]

The monument is styled as a “Letter to the future,” and reads:

Ok is the first glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it. Ágúst 2019, 415ppm CO2

Okjökull, or Ok Glacier, was the subject of a 2018 documentary called Not Ok, made by Rice anthropologists Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer. Narrated by former Reykjavík mayor and comedian Jón Gnarr, Not Ok tells how in 2014, Ok became the first glacier in Iceland to melt and thereby “lose its title” as a glacier. Scientists credit Ok’s melting to global warming. According to the filmmakers, scientists fear that all of Iceland’s 400-plus glaciers will be gone by 2200.

“By marking Ok’s passing, we hope to draw attention to what is being lost as Earth’s glaciers expire,” Cymene remarked in the press release. “These bodies of ice are the largest freshwater reserves on the planet and frozen within them are histories of the atmosphere. They are also often important cultural forms that are full of significance.” The monument is said to be the first of its kind in the world.

“One of our Icelandic colleagues put it very wisely when he said, ‘Memorials are not for the dead; they are for the living,'” Cymene continued. “With this memorial, we want to underscore that it is up to us, the living, to collectively respond to the rapid loss of glaciers and the ongoing impacts of climate change. For Ok glacier it is already too late; it is now what scientists call ‘dead ice.'”

You can find more information about the documentary and RSVP to take part in the monument ceremony at https://www.notokmovie.com.