Linnea Larsdotter’s Passion for ActingNovember 30, 2016
Travel to the southern-most tip of Sweden, and you’ll find Smygehamn, a locality that is home to fewer than 1,500 people.
There’s a lighthouse – the Smygehuk Lighthouse – that stands all of 56 feet tall and almost is shielded by the trees that surround it. According to Lonely Planet, the restaurant Smyge Fisk Rökeri “packs people like sardines into its tiny shop.” And there are fields and meadows and water as far as the eye can see.
This is home to Linnea Larsdotter, actress and co-founder of the Nordic International Film Festival with fellow Swede John Matton (see our stories previewing this year’s festival and a recap of the event).
“I’m from the countryside; I miss the nature,” she said, adding that she grew up right by the ocean.
Her new home, a home she loves, is New York City, population of 8.4 million.
The past few years have been a whirlwind for Larsdotter and Matton, partners on screen and off.
They started Changing Film Productions to help independent filmmakers make their ideas a reality. They founded the Nordic International Film Festival, which just celebrated its second year with another successful event, in April of 2015 to celebrate fine independent films and connect filmmakers with distributors. And they star together in 2015’s “Till We Meet Again,” a film that has racked up awards like Best Feature Film at the Long Beach International Film Festival, Best Picture at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival and an Award of Excellence from the New York Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.
“Till We Meet Again,” which hit select theaters in November to splendid reviews, also has drawn attention to Larsdotter, who won an Award of Excellence from the New York Los Angeles Independent Film Festival for her role as Joanna.
Starring alongside her boyfriend, she said, can be a little intimidating.
“Acting together, that’s really interesting,” Larsdotter said. “Acting is such a passion of mine. Having your partner who knows you really well, they notice everything you do…it’s tricky.”
Larsdotter started performing at an early age in Smygehamn, playing in a folk music trio with her sisters. She played the violin and fiddle growing up and boasts 15 years of training in ballet and 12 in jazz dance.
She met Matton, a Stockholm native, when both were acting in Spain in 2007. They moved to Thailand – a centerpiece location in “Till We Meet Again” – before arriving in New York in 2009.
“I had one suitcase, and I moved,” she remembered, adding that their first apartment in New York was “horrible” and quickly led to a move to a new studio apartment.
Matton enrolled in the Circle in the Square Theatre School; Larsdotter began a two-year program at the Musical Theater Conservatory at the New York Film Academy.
“The acting schools here are so superb, the training that you get, the network, is beyond anything I had experienced before in my training,” Larsdotter said. “It was overwhelming in the beginning how people were so eager in trying to help out.”
Larsdotter, in turn, helps others out by teaching acting. And the effort that she and Matton are putting into the Nordic International Film Festival has begun to provide more opportunities for independent filmmakers.
When speaking about the future of the festival, she said, “I have extremely high expectations.”
That drive helps explain how an actress from a tiny town in Sweden is making a name for herself in one of the biggest towns of all.