They broke Security Service codes, hid leaders of the underground movement, and helped the families of political prisoners. A film about women who fought against the system, Marta Dzido and Piotr Śliwowski's Solidarity According to Women reaches its financing goals through the crowdfunding website wspieramkulture.pl.
"It started from a certain sign which hung on the gate of the Gdańsk Shipyard during the strikes: 'Women stop bothering us, we are fighting for Poland', filmmakers Piotr Śliwowski and Marta Dzido say in an interview with Anna Legierska for culture.pl. "We were shocked. After all, there were also women in the shipyard and they also fought for the trade union demands!" Despite threats that their children would go to orphanages if they didn’t cooperate with the regime, and attempts to destroy their marriages and offers to help them leave the country to stop their undermining the system, there were women who risked their lives to fight communism. When men were locked up during martial law, women continued the fight.
They smuggled money, broke Security Service codes, distributed leaflets, published censured literature, edited the underground press, organised strikes and took part in hunger strikes, cooperated with foreign-press agencies, hid leaders of underground movements in their homes, helped the families of political prisoners - and were sentenced for their part in the opposition.
"I am interested in the birth of the rebellion. After all they had a lot to lose", Marta Dzido continues. "They could have closed their eyes to it, figured out their own stability, not stand out, not ask questions. […] Years later they don’t regret their decisions […] Some of them neglected their family lives, marriages fell apart, some of them are single today, but there is no sorrow or resentment in them."
Ewa Ossowska, Anna Walentynowicz, Alina Pieńkowska, Henryka Krzywonos, and many others - their names come up on the occasion of Solidairity celebrations but their stories have remained untold. The full-length documentary Solidarity According to Women received financing through the crowdfunding website www.wspieramkulture.pl. It is a project undertaken by writer, director and film editor Marta Dzido and director-producer Piotr Śliwowski. The filmmakers researched the topic and found 16 female heroes whose stories remain untold.
"After 16 interviews, I know that the women’s fight was no different from the men’s. The women were active, they had their political dreams although they never cared about being leaders of the trade union. Only one of them was invited to the Round Table discussions: Grażyna Staniszewska. After '89 few women of the Solidarity movement decided to enter politics, which doesn’t mean that they gave up on being involved in the public sphere."
Solidarity According to Women is on one hand a story about forgotten female heroes and on the other, a contemporary portrait of who these women became. Although the system changed, they continue to fight for a better tomorrow. Work on the film began in January 2012. The budget being sought, of 77,000 euro, is destined for production costs.
Designed to raise money for specific cultural projects, the website wspieramkulture.pl was launched in December 2012. It has 15 artistic categories: design, film, photography, comics, fashion, music, writing, visual arts, dance, theater and performance art. Another project that successfully raised its budget through wspieramkulutre.pl is Aneta Kopacz's Chustka (planned for release in May 2013). The website has a "all or nothing clause" whereby funders' money is returned if a project doesn't receive the required amount within 60 days of registration. Wspieramkulture.pl is Poland's only crowdfunding website devoted entirely to culture.
See more: wspieramkulture.pl
Marta Dzido (born 1981) is a filmmaker, journalist, writer and film editor. Dzido graduated from the Łódz Film School. Her novels Ślad po mamie / Trace After Mother [editor’s translation], Małż and Matrioszka / Matryoshka Doll [editor’s translation] have been published in Vietnamese, Hungarian and German. Together with Piotr Śliwowski she received a Hollywood Eagle Documentary Award and the Special Award of the Polish Film Institute for her cinematic debut, Downtown - miasto Downów / Downtown – City of Downs.
Piotr Śliwowski is a director-producer, and the author of documentary films and reportages including the five-film documentary series Independent Culture of the People’s Republic of Poland.
Author: Marta Jazowska, based on the Polish article for culture.pl by Anna Legierska