While Cannes soaked up all the attention last month, a different kind of festival was making waves in Havana. The traveling Swedish festival Music Doc is the best weathervane around for what’s new and interesting in Nordic art, across all media. Though the centerpiece of any Music Doc event is a movie or documentary about music, the organization takes pride in making the experience a multifaceted one: live bands, dance shows, and even spirited lectures can precede a screening. Many independent film festivals now travel, but few do it as dexterously as Music Doc, which juggles DJs, visual artists, and musicians from every genre between continents. Though the festival features some of Sweden’s most fascinating acts, much of the work is still under the radar anywhere else in the US—this is a rare opportunity to step inside the culture.
Music Doc began its 2012 circuit in Chile; it completes a two-night event at the Hotel Americano in New York on Wednesday. Several artists, many of them Swedes transplanted to New York, will hold a discussion on YouTube before a screening of the documentary Stocktown X South Africa. A DJ set afterwards includes one of the men featured in the film.