Award-winning documentary filmmakers Gary and Larry Lane have teamed up with director Camille Hardman for their second documentary film featuring Dolly Parton, Still Working 9 to 5, dealing with the fight for women’s equity in the workplace. It is making a splash at film festivals around the world and garnering many awards nominations. These famous, openly gay twins are considered Dolly’s favorites—evidenced by the fact that she featured 15 of her original songs in their debut doc, Hollywood to Dollywood. Queerful sat down with them to discuss their success.
Winnie McCroy: I’m here with Gary and Larry Lane to talk about their Academy Award nominated documentaries, Still Working 9 to 5, which tackles women’s equity in the workforce. Now, I know you guys have been big Dolly Parton fans for all these years, so in honor, I wore my Dolly shirt.
Gary Lane: We saw! Hey, Dolly!
Winnie McCroy: And I understand that Dolly was all set to come to the Nashville
Film Festival to introduce this film.
Gary Lane: She wasn’t able to come, so she sent a really great video introducing the film and welcoming the film festival. And you know, Nashville is Dolly’s place. We were actually really happy. We won the biggest award there. It was a best feature film, basically Best of the Fest out of all the 200 films. We’re really happy about that, and we got nominated for a Critics’ Choice. And we’re fingers crossed for the Oscars noms, because those come out soon.
Winnie McCroy: Yes, that’s wonderful. I also understand that you got a nomination for Best Music Documentary or Special Program at Hollywood Music in Media Awards. Congratulations.
Larry Lane: Yes, and we’re also we’re up for Best Score there as well. The film has been so well received, it’s so timely with women’s rights that Dolly, Lily, and Jane are behind the film and even Rita Moreno has been sharing the trailer. We could not be more happy with how they’re supporting us.
Winnie McCroy: Yes, I saw that in your examination of the issues that still plague women as far as equity and workplace, you spoke with Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Allison Janney, and Rita Moreno and got them to give their take on how people can unite for equal pay, against sexual harassment, and for universal childcare. And to get job promotions just like they tried to do in 9 to 5 all those years ago.
Gary Lane: Basically, we took a page out of the playbook that they did, because they made it a comedy and were all about tying up the boss. And that’s what they were told to emphasize on their promoting it. But it really showcased, you know, the issues we’re dealing with: equal pay, equal job advancement, sexual harassment, and universal child care. And sadly, 42 years since that film came out, all those issues still resonate for women in the workplace. So that is what the film is showing. But what we did was unique because 9 to 5 has been so many things: a TV show, a movie, a musical, and a song. So we actually followed the 9 to 5 timeline with the working women’s timeline and we intersected key moments throughout and that was the way our editors and we chose to do it and it’s been really well received.
Winnie McCroy: And where can people view this film at home?
Gary Lane: We still don’t have streaming or distribution in place, which is kind of shocking. And a lot of people involved in the film are kind of dumbfounded that we we can do at this point is keep pushing and keep getting the message out there.
Winnie McCroy: Yeah, you really are. I wanted to ask you. What prompted you guys to tackle this topic?
Larry Lane: Well, back in 2017, when Dolly, Lily, and Jane were on a big awards show, they announced that they would possibly do the sequel if the right script came along. We started talking and said, ‘Well, what’s ever been a movie, a song, a documentary, and a Broadway play?’ When we started out, we were gonna make a documentary on the making of 9 to 5 featuring behind the scenes footage. And then Camille Hardman, our friend and producing partners who is also a documentary filmmaker, said, ‘Look, this movie really started a whole movement,’ so then we kind of tied it together. We say when the fandom met the feminism, we came up with Still Working 9 To 5.
Winnie McCroy: And people can’t seem to get enough. You know we’ve been Facebook friends for quite some time, and I’ve seen on your Facebook feed that you have traveled this film all around the world from Portugal to Poland and I wanted to ask you what was your favorite country? Do you have any anecdotes that you want to share from your screenings there?
Larry Lane: Well, we played in New Zealand, so we love New Zealand, we did play Portugal, Canada, and we played in Scotland. It’s been interesting because it’s been well received around the world, and we wouldn’t really know that because 9 to 5 was such a big hit here, but, you know, it’s just universally loved. So, we’ve been so many amazing places and we’re getting ready to go to the Hamptons. We’re opening that whole film festival with that film. So, just a lot of honors. We’ve opened festivals, we’ve closed festivals, we’ve won jury awards. We won audience awards and again, I’ll say it: our sales agent is just completely mind boggled that we don’t have a streamer service. We even got the new Dolly/Kelly duet because Dolly did it as a slower version just for this documentary exclusively. That’s had six or seven million hits on Spotify so far.
Winnie McCroy: Yes, I’ve heard it; it’s so slow and haunting and I think one of you remarked that when they slow it down, you really hear the lyrics and you can really see that although it was meant as a comedy and it was a pop hit, it really tackles some heavy issues. I know that that people have really been gobbling up that Kelly Clarkson and Dolly do it on that. And I, I also heard y’all are on The Kelly Clarkson Show. Dish!
Gary Lane: Yes, but we actually were in the audience; we were just honored to be there on the day that Dolly was there. But Dolly and Kelly, they performed half of the duet and half of the original, which is really interesting, and they both talk about the documentary and the duet. So we couldn’t be more happy with that, so the fans can watch that on December 1st. It’s already been pre-taped because Dolly was out here in LA so it’s gonna be aired as a Christmas show the same day that her movie comes out.
Winnie McCroy: Mountain Magic Christmas!
Gary Lane: Yes, Dolly’s big NBC movie comes out the same day. Have you seen it?
Winnie McCroy: No, but I’ve seen all her other in the mountains for Christmas specials. My favorite is Unlikely Angel.
Gary Lane: Oh, that was a good one. If you turn on NBC they’re running the promo a lot, but Dolly looks great. She’s got a lot of funny lines there. I think it’s gonna be a really popular movie for NBC.
Winnie McCroy: That’s fantastic. Well, you guys really did make a splash of the award circuit and I wish you all the best of luck and I want as we leave here to ask, what is next for you guys? What’s your next project?
Gary Lane: Well, I have to say, sadly we’re going on Saturday to Chattanooga for our friend Leslie Jordan’s memorial. You know, he passed very suddenly back in October. We worked with Leslie for so many years. We’ve just got hours and hours of footage. So honestly, I really think our next project might be a documentary all about Leslie’s life and what he represented because we’ve just got so, so much material there, and he was just a great friend of ours.
Winnie McCroy: Yes! We cannot let the community forget Brother Boy.
Gary Lane: No, no. We love Leslie to death, and you remember in Hollywood to Dollywood he gave the best line. People still talk about it when they see us! When he’s waving at the RV and he’s seeing us all from Dolly’s Hollywood star heading toward Dollywood. And he goes, “Lord, I don’t know what the sodomy laws are in Tennessee but bless their hearts.” We love that.
Winnie McCroy: I love it. I love a good ‘bless their hearts.’ Well, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule and I just can’t wait for y’all to knock them dead and scoop up all those awards.
Larry Lane: Winnie, we will always make time for you and thank you for having us on Queerful.
For more information, visit https://stillworking9to5.com/home