Lithuania and Sweden are connected by close cultural relations: cooperation includes cinema and literary translations

Date

2021 10 18

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During the meeting between the Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys and the Ambassador of Kingdom of Sweden Inger Buxton, discussion focused on the coronavirus pandemic’s influence on the culture sector of both countries and the most significant projects and initiatives of bilateral cultural cooperation.

First, Inger Buxton informed the Minister of Culture that Sweden’s cultural institutions are gradually returning to life only this autumn, they were closed until now. Simonas Kairys drew attention to the cultural changes that occurred during quarantine and determined a shift in people’s behavioural habits. The Minister of Culture also briefly presented his priorities to the Ambassador, introduced her to the funding aspects of the cultural sector, and emphasised the importance of international cooperation, whose promotion will be allocated additional resources in 2022, to Lithuania.

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden expressed delight about the particularly successful and productive cooperation in the field of cinema industry. Sweden’s filmmakers are actively filming in Lithuania, making use of the income tax exemption on filmmaking which has been in effect in Lithuania since 2014: Netflix TV series Clark, Young Wallander and others are filmed in our country, while 2018 marked the filming of the most famous and expensive cinema production in Lithuania: the TV series Chernobyl by Swedish director Johan Renck, which became popular around the world. Joint-production films are also financed, and Sweden supports our film festivals Scanorama and Nepatogus Kinas (Inconvenient Films) that place a special focus on human rights, democratic values, and climate issues.

Inger Buxton, who has been the Ambassador since September of last year, took interest in Kaunas, which will become the European Capital of Culture next year, as well as its modernist architecture and the project Lithuanian Capital of Culture (Lietuvos Kultūros Sostinė) funded by the Ministry of Culture. “The most important thing brought by this project is the change in the cities and in people’s heads. In this way, we are gradually creating one large Lithuania of culture, and this title does not end with the year of the capital of culture,” Simonas Kairys said.

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden was particularly pleased not just about the abundance of Swedes studying in Lithuania, but also the high demand of Scandinavian studies in our country: according to Buxton, this results in higher supply of interpreters and greater quantity of translations of Swedish literature. During the meeting, intensive cooperation between Lithuania and Sweden in the strengthening of libraries’ activities and promotion of reading was also emphasised, as both countries participate in many related multilateral projects. Significant cooperation is also carried out together with the Centre for Writers and Translators in Visby.

The Ambassador also shared information about the concert “The Nordic and Lithuania – united by music”, which will be held at the museum of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania and will be dedicated to the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and the Nordic countries. She was also pleased that the duties of the art director and chief conductor of the State Wind Instrument Orchestra Trimitas have been taken over by Swedish musician Leif Karlsson.

Other subjects discussed during the meeting included cooperation with the Nordic Council of Ministers, which is particularly important to Lithuania, as well as the programs that it implements jointly with the Baltic countries and that are actively utilised by our cultural sector.

Photo by Liudas Masys