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Henry M. Robert

Cultural diplomacy

Scandinavia hosted second Ukrainian Film Festival
6 December, 2016 - 12:49
THE FESTIVAL OPENED WITH THE NEST OF THE TURTLEDOVE THAT RECENTLY PREMIERED IN UKRAINE. THE FILM WAS INTRODUCED BY THE DIRECTOR TARAS TKACHENKO AND THE STAR RYMMA ZIUBINA / Photo from the website kino.net.ua

The film shows in Stockholm were organized by the Ukrainian Institute in Sweden, a nongovernmental organization set up in 2014 on the initiative of the well-known Ukrainian-Swedish pianist Natalya Pasichnyk. Among the high-profile events arranged by this institute are past year’s festival of Ukrainian films, a number of Ukrainian classical music concerts, the launching of the first Swedish-language book on the history of Ukraine by the Swedish author Peter Johnsson, participation in a Goeteborg Book Fair, etc.

The Ukrainian Institute in Sweden is the world’s first Ukrainian cultural initiative that received support from and became a member of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in the Stockholm cluster as an observer, which allows it to present Ukrainian culture along with the leading cultural institutions of all European countries.

This year the forum of Ukrainian cinema was held at the Saga movie theater in downtown Stockholm. Some of the films shown to Swedish audiences are new even to Ukrainians. In particular, the festival opened with the film The Nest of the Turtledove which only recently premiered in Ukraine. The film was introduced by the director Taras Tkachenko and the star Rymma Ziubina.

“We decided to show the film Song of Songs directed by Eva Neymann so that Swedes could see Ukraine as a multiethnic state. We particularly wanted to focus on the role of the Jewish community in the life of Ukraine. Besides, the forum had a children’s day. We showed Anatolii Mateshko’s musical film Trumpeter which Swedish children liked very much,” Natalya PASICHNYK says. The festival closed with the film Battle for Sevastopol (“Nezlamna”), a biopic directed by Serhii Mokrytsky about a WW II Ukrainian female sniper. According to Pasichnyk, they wanted this film to demonstrate to the Swedes the role of Ukraine in World War Two.

“While Ukrainian bureaucrats have been discussing the establishment of a Ukrainian institute for more than a year and things are so far confined to statements on paper, our Institute successfully works side by side with other European institutes. This is a good pilot project which can become a model for Ukrainian institutes in other European countries. I hope very much that both the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with which we signed a memorandum on cooperation in the field of cultural diplomacy past year, will support our initiative with concrete deeds, not words,” Pasichnyk adds.

The next project of the Ukrainian Institute in Sweden is the BIS Records release of a unique audio album of Ukrainian classical music performed by Swedish international-level musicians. Meanwhile, the UA First TV channel showed the film Ukrainian Rhapsody, made jointly by Swedish and Ukrainian journalists, on Dignity and Freedom Day.

By Oleksii KOSTIUCHENKO

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