Minnesota Connections to Winner of Dalarna’s Culture Prize

By Valorie Arrowsmith


Sweden and Isanti County, Minnesota — Swedish documentary filmmaker Anders Hanser, of Orsa and Stockholm, Sweden, recently won Landstingets kulturpris, the Culture Prize for Dalarna 2014, for recognition of his work in preserving cultural heritage, and in this case through films and stories. It comes with a 100,000 Kronor stipend.
While Hanser has created stories from around the world, traveling to nearly every continent, he was particularly honored for the films he made that featured life and art in Dalarna. There are over 25 of his films that have a connection to Dalarna, for example “Anders Zorn — Med egna ord,” “Karin och Carl Larsson — Vårt älskade Sundborn,” “Bortom de Blånande Bergen,” “Bingjöstämman,” “Orsa i musiken,” and one about his mother, an opera singer, “Hanser Lina — Vallkullan som blev operasångerska.”
His stories also reached well into America, a country he has visited dozens of times. On his travels he gathered images for his film “Mitt Amerika,” that told stories of his impressions from 1963 through 1988. He also spent time in Isanti County, Minnesota, America’s Dalarna, doing research for a story about his own family’s immigration from Orsa to Stanchfield, Minnesota.
Research, however, was not the only reason he returned to Isanti County time after time. He made a point of attending the Wilson Family Reunion, held in August every year. There he reconnected with second cousins, all with roots in Orsa. He brought his children so they could meet their North American family. During those reunion visits he also attended Braham Pie Day and was given an award, along with his son Calle, for traveling the farthest to come to the event. On another trip, this time with daughter Carolina, they spent time in Bemidji, at the Concordia Language Villages Swedish program, where he gave a presentation on his work as the official photographer for ABBA. Because the village staff was thoroughly enamored with ABBA, they commemorated the moment by reconstructing a pose done by the famous four, taking on the roles of Agneta, Anni-Frid, Bjorn and Benny.
Other notable moments of his visits include being the featured guest and presenter through the American Swedish Institute when “Mamma Mia” premiered in Minneapolis. On a more modest scale he attended a Swedish language class in Orsa’s sister city of Braham, and gave learners a chance to practice their listening skills as he talked with them about his connections to the East Central part of Minnesota. And there were the numerous times when he enjoyed a meal with friends and relations.
His loyal fans in Minnesota took great delight in his report about the proceedings. He casually mentioned that he had been to the castle to receive a medal. From the big gala event itself, however, he could not report. As he was packing up to go to Falun, he sustained an injury, took an ambulance ride to the hospital, and spent several days under observation before being released in good health. The big party in Dalarna had to happen without him this time; however his films were there as his voice.
Family members and the Isanti County Historical Society, its friends, supporters and members would like to congratulate Anders Hanser on a well-earned award. For more information about the prize search “Landstingets kulturpris, Dalarna” or contact kultur@ltdalarna.se