Tina Gharavi

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Tina Gharavi
Tina Gharavi.jpg
Gharavi at the Story Engine Screenwriting Conference, UK
Born Tehran, Iran
Occupation Director, Screenwriter, Producer, Professor
Years active 1996-present
Website http://www.bridgeandtunnelproductions.com

Tina Gharavi (Persian: تینا غروی‎‎) is a BAFTA-nominated screenwriter, director and activist. Gharavi is known for making innovative cross-platform films about outsiders, outcasts and marginalised people in extraordinary situations.[1]

Gharavi's award-winning films have been screened internationally, broadcast worldwide on the BBC, Channel 4 (UK), ITV, Showtime, Educational Broadcasting System South Korea, and in the contemporary art world, including multiple screenings at the ICA in London, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (UK) and the Sundance Film Festival. Her works are housed in the permanent collections of MIT, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, British Film Institute, Harvard University Library, Tyne & Wear Archives, Manchester Art Gallery, and the Donnell Library NY amongst others.

Gharavi has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (2003), received a UK Arts Council Decibel Spotlight Award and served as a diversity champion for a variety of organisations as trustee (UK Refugee Council, Arts Council North-East, Tyneside Cinema and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts). In 2014, Moviescope Magazine noted her as an up-and-coming UK talent.[2] Her first feature film, I Am Nasrine was nominated for a BAFTA in the category of Best British Debut.[3]Sir Ben Kingsley called it "an important and much-needed film."[4]


Gharavi was born in Tehran and is currently based in the UK and France. She was raised in the UK, New Zealand, New Jersey and studied filmmaking in France at Le Fresnoy studio national des arts contemporains near Lille, France. Gharavi is an Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Film & Digital Media at the University of Newcastle, and is frequently a guest lecturer internationally. She is a Fellow of MIT Documentary Lab in Boston. Gharavi lives and works in Newcastle and Paris.

Production company & charity[edit]

In 1998 Gharavi set up the media production company, Bridge + Tunnel Productions, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The company creates documentary and fiction film focusing on the themes of cultural identity, migration, and social inclusion and produces films and projects internationally.

In 2000 Gharavi setup and established the Kooch Cinema Group, a community media training project, which is made up of asylum seekers and refugee participants from the Middle East based in the North of England. She started this project after returning to Iran to make a Channel Four commissioned documentary, Mother/Country, about revisiting her mothers house 23 years after leaving.

In 2005, she established a separate media charity, Nomad Cultural Forum, to undertake the charitable and educational work she initiated mainly working with refugees and asylum seekers (the Kooch Cinema Projects). In 2008, the name was later changed to Bridge + Tunnel Voices. In 2015 she stepped down as Creative Director.

In 2014, she established Bridge + Tunnel France, with her partner, James Richard Baillie, to undertake several projects based in France and the rest of Mainland Europe. The company will specialise in interactive narrative and documentary as well as European co-productions.


Peter Bradshaw 4-star review of I Am Nasrine in The Guardian :

Jackie Kay, poet, has said of I Am Nasrine:

Sir Ben Kingsley has said of I Am Nasrine:


Mark Cousins writing about I Am Nasrine:

Shari Frilot, Sundance programmer, has said of Closer:

In The London Evening Standard it was said of Mother/Country:

In the jury statement announced by Jiří Hubička as part of One World Film Festival, The Czech Radio Award, it was said:

Catalogue of Selected Works[edit]

Closer (2000)[edit]

This documentary is a character study of a 17-year-old lesbian living in Newcastle. Closer explores the process of documentary film making and challenges traditional forms of storytelling. combining both fiction and documentary. Produced without a script and in close collaboration with the subject, Annelise Rodger. Selected for Sundance Film Festival and winner of the Plantout/iFilm Grand Prize.

Mother/Country (2001)[edit]

Channel Four commissioned TV documentary. At the age of six, director Tina Gharavi left Iran and her mother, to live with her father in the West. She has not seen mother or homeland since. This film follows her as she returns to Iran to confront her past and understand why her mother sent her away. As well as filming her own experiences, Gharavi employs actors to play out the roles of her and her mother as they look on, in order to facilitate communication between the pair.

TimeOut selected Mother/Country as ‘Pick of the Week’ and called it "genuinely moving".

A Town Like Lackawanna (2002)[edit]

An observational documentary focusing on the attitudes of two distinct groups of men- American-Muslims from the Yemeni community and those from white European backgrounds- who once worked in the former steel mining industry in Lackawanna, NY. The film records these two groups of men talking about the changes in their communities and the shift in attitudes since 9/11 following the arrest and trial of the Lackawanna 6. Commissioned as part of a residency sponsored by the NEA.

Asylum Carwash (2002)[edit]

Commission from Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Asylum Carwash, was an 8-hour installation documentary film project about the existence of modern-day slavery and the reality of black market economics for failed asylum seekers in Europe.[9]

Touring the UK in 2007-8, the project was launched by acclaimed Malawian poet and former political prisoner, Jack Mapanje, and was commemorated in poem entitled: Upon Opening Tina’s ‘Asylum Carwash’.

Last of the Dictionary Men (2007-2016)[edit]

In 2008 Gharavi was awarded a UK Heritage Lottery Fund award for an exhibition (documentary, oral history and community photographic project) about multi-culturalism and the Yemeni-Muslim community (who have lived in the North East since 1890), Last of the Dictionary Men. This is a major touring exhibition that launched at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2008 and subsequently traveled internationally, including to Yemen.[10]

The King of South Shields (2008)[edit]

Through her company, Bridge + Tunnel Productions, Gharavi produced a documentary about the first settled Muslim community in the UK- the Yemeni Community in South Shields and the day Muhammad Ali got married in the local mosque The King of South Shields.

Documentary looking at the day that Muhammad Ali came to Tyneside in 1977. Ali and his new wife Veronica, attended the South Shields Mosque with their baby daughter Hana, and had their wedding blessed by the local Imam. Using archive news and Super-8 footage, the film looks at the effect that the event had on the young Yemeni-British men who attended the blessing.

The Yemeni community in South Shields is one of the oldest Muslim communities in the UK, and this film examines the emerging Arab/British identity, during a period when the young men involved were recognising the duality of their culture.

Opening film of Sheffield International Documentary Festival in 2008.

I Am Nasrine (2012)[edit]

Main article: I Am Nasrine

I Am Nasrine is a feature screenplay, about teenage Iranian refugees in the North East, developed through improvisation with the Kooch Cinema Group and more recently developed with young people as part of the Wiki: Wonderland project. It went into production in June 2009 and was supported by patron Sir Ben Kingsley. The film is currently in limited release and is on the festival circuit. The film had a limited theatrical release in 2013. Nominated for BAFTA in 2013.

Selected Filmography[edit]

Year Film Notes 2017 Marisol [11] Feature Film - Director, Co-Producer, Screenwriter
2017 The Good Iranian [12] Feature Film - Director, Producer, Screenwriter

Currently in development with Film4 and the British Film Institute and with finance/production partners Back-Up (France).

2015 People Like Us Short Documentary Film - Director, Producer, Screenwriter

Film exploring wrongful conviction and prison exoneration. Made for and with charity Resurrection After Exoneration (New Orleans, LA) Winner: Anthem Film Award: Excellence in Filmmaking (2016) Nominated: AHRC Research in Film Award (2016)

2013 I Am Nasrine[n 1] (formerly, Ali in Wonderland) Feature Film - Director, Producer, Screenwriter Theatrical release in Spring 2013

Awards/Honours : Nominated for a BAFTA in 2013: Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer.[17] Winner (Best Screenplay): Brooklyn Film Festival, 2012.[18]

2008 The King of South Shields[n 2] Documentary - Director, Producer, Photographer

Awards/Honours : Nominated - Opening film Sheffield Documentary Film Festival

2007-2013 Last of the Dictionary Men Installation & Touring Exhibition - Project Lead & Filmmaker/Artist
International touring exhibition, opened at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in April 2008, traveled to Yemen for 2 years including Aden, San'aa, Ta'izz, and returned to London in 2013 at the Mosaic Rooms and the University of Exeter in 2016
2007 Perfect to Begin Short Fiction- Script Editor, Producer
Awards/Honours : Winner: TCM Classic Shorts Competition [13]
2007 Two Lighthouses Poetry Film & Documentary- Director, Producer
2007 Asylum Carwash Documentary Installation- Director, Producer
Commissioned - Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
2006 Bread: Nearest Neighbor: Israel & Palestine Documentary Installation- Director, Producer
Opened - Shanghai Zendai Museum of Contemporary Art, China
2004 Featherhead Short Fiction- Director, Producer
Distributed - Alzheimer's Society Filmed by Brian Tufano
2002 A Town Like Lackawanna Documentary- Director, Producer, Photographer
Broadcast - Buffalo Public Broadcast Channel
2001 Mother/Country Documentary- Director, Producer
Broadcast - Channel Four TV, UK & Sundance Channel/Showtime, USA

Awards/Honours : Grand Prize: Tongues on Fire, Asian Women’s’ Film Festival, ICA London March 2005.[15]

2000 Closer Documentary- Director, Producer
Broadcast - Sundance Channel/Showtime, USA, EBS, South Korea

Awards/Honours : Official selection, Sundance Film Festival.[13]
Grand Prize: i/Film Planetout Short Movie Award, OutFEST, Los Angeles.[14]

1999 Panino Short Fiction- Script Editor, Producer
Awards/Honours : Official Selection - Edinburgh International Film Festival
1996 If I Wasn’t a Painter, I Would Have Raised Chickens Documentary- Director, Producer
Funded - Henry Rutgers Foundation


  1. ^ Its website is iamnasrine.com.
  2. ^ Its website is thekingofsouthshields.co.uk. Archived September 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.


  1. ^ interview with Gharavi at Netribution
  2. ^ "Tina Gharavi - One To Watch - movieScope". Moviescopemag.com. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "Tina Gharavi: Q&A". Guru.bafta.org. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  4. ^ http://birds-eye-view.co.uk/2013/04/26/bev-chats-to-i-am-nasrine-dir-tina-gharavi/
  5. ^ "I Am Nasrine – review". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Interview: Award-winning filmmaker Tina Gharavi". Thejournal.co.uk. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "MADCAT WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL". Madcatfilmfestival.org. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  8. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20091012043824/http://www.oneworld.cz/ow/2003/en/news/. Archived from the original on October 12, 2009. Retrieved October 12, 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ 'Backing for car wash boss' by Tina Gharavi in The Shields Gazette
  10. ^ * 'The King of South Shields: A knockout royal visit' at the BBC
  11. ^ website: The Good Iranian.
  12. ^ website: The Good Iranian.
  13. ^ "London Film Festival 2007: TCM Classic Shorts Competition". FILMdetail. Retrieved 28 October 2014.