Tina Gharavi (Persian: تینا غروی) is a BAFTA-nominated Artist, Film/TV Director and Screenwriter, born in Tehran, who lives in the UK and Los Angeles. She is a global citizen; raised in the UK, New Zealand, New Jersey and studied filmmaking in France at Le Fresnoy studio national des arts contemporains, France. Gharavi is known for making innovative cross-platform stories about outsiders, misfits and rebels as well as people in extraordinary situations. Gharavi's work is simultaneously intimate and lyrical, as well as poignant and political. Her work often explores how we tell the stories of 'the other.'
Gharavi at the Story Engine Screenwriting Conference, UK
|Occupation||Artist, Director/Screenwriter, Professor|
Her debut feature film, I Am Nasrine was nominated for a BAFTA.Sir Ben Kingsley called it "an important and much-needed film." Gharavi has TV credits to her name including directing on The Tunnel the UK equivalent of The Bridge for Sky and Ackley Bridge for Channel Four TV. She is a Showrunner for an Icelandic/British Detective series, Refurrin (The Fox), Exec-ed by Hilary Bevan Jones (Endor/Red Arrow) and Nicky Bentham (Moon).
Gharavi is Sundance-nominated director. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, received a UK Arts Council Decibel Spotlight Award and served as a diversity champion for a variety of organisations (UK Refugee Council, Arts Council North-East, Tyneside Cinema and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts). Gharavi is also an Associate Professor in Film & Digital Media at the University of Newcastle. She was invited to join the BAFTA Academy in 2017 and received a Fellowship from the MIT Documentary Lab in Boston.
Gharavi established the film company, Bridge + Tunnel Productions, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England in 1998. In 2000, Gharavi set up the Kooch Cinema Group, a media training project, for asylum seekers and refugee participants; a project started after returning to Iran to make a Channel Four commissioned documentary, Mother/Country, where she revisited her mother's house after 23 years. In 2005, she established a separate media charity, Bridge + Tunnel Voices, to undertake the charitable and educational work she initiated mainly working with refugees and asylum seekers; stepping down as the lead creative director in 2015. In 2014, she co-established Bridge + Tunnel France in Paris, with her partner, James Richard Baillie, to specialise in European co-productions.
Gharavi's award-winning work 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 screened in competition in the Sundance Film Festival. Her films 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.
|Year||Film | TV||Notes|
|2020||The Good Iranian||Feature Film - Director/Producer/Screenwriter
Currently in development with Film4 and the British Film Institute and with finance/production partners Back-Up (France). Website: The Good Iranian
|2020||Marisol||Feature Film - Director/Producer/Screenwriter Website: Marisol.|
|2019||Tribalism Is Killing Us||Feature Documentary Film - Director/Producer Website: Tribalism is Killing Us.|
|2018||Ackley Bridge (Channel Four TV/The Forge)||High End Episodic TV- Episodes 5 & 6 - Director Website: Channel Four's Ackley Bridge, Series 2.|
|2017||The Tunnel: Vengeance (Sky TV / Kudos||High End Episodic TV - Second Unit Director Website: Sky TV's The Tunnel, Series 3.|
|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||Feature Film - Director/Producer/Screenwriter
Awards/Honours : Nominated for a BAFTA in 2013: Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer. Winner (Best Screenplay): Brooklyn Film Festival, 2012. Theatrical release in Spring 2013 Website: iamnasrine.com
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 had a theatrical release in 2013 in Europe. Was screened in the Houses of Parliament in London to a selection of invited MP's. Nominated for BAFTA in 2013.
|2008||The King of South Shields||Documentary - Director/Producer|
Awards/Honours : Nominated - Opening film Sheffield Documentary Film Festival
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. Website: thekingofsouthshields.co.uk.
|2007-2013||Last of the Dictionary Men||Installation & Touring Exhibition - Filmmaker/Artist |
International touring exhibition, opened at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2008, traveled to Yemen for 2 years including Aden, San'aa, Ta'izz, and returned to London Mosaic Rooms (2013) and the University of Exeter (2016).
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 was a major touring exhibition that launched at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2008 and subsequently traveled internationally, including to Yemen.
|2007||Perfect to Begin||Short Fiction- Script Editor/Producer|
Awards/Honours : Winner: TCM Classic Shorts Competition 
|2007||Two Lighthouses||Poetry Film & Documentary- Director/ Producer|
|2007||Asylum Carwash||Documentary Installation- Director/Producer |
Commissioned - Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
Asylum Carwash, is 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.
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'.
|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 Cinematographer Brian Tufano
|2002||A Town Like Lackawanna||Documentary- Director/Producer/Camera |
Broadcast - Buffalo Public Broadcast Channel
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.
|2002||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.
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".
Broadcast - Sundance Channel/Showtime, USA, EBS, South Korea
Awards/Honours : Official selection, Sundance Film Festival.
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.
Peter Bradshaw ★★★★ 4-star review of I Am Nasrine in The Guardian:
The Bafta-nominated debut tells its story of Iranian emigrants to Britain with integrity and feeling... A valuable debut, shot with a fluent kind of poetry.
Jackie Kay, poet, has said of I Am Nasrine:
...I Am Nasrine is a tender and affecting coming of age movie... Heartening and uplifting to come across an Iranian woman filmmaker with Gharavi's magical yet methodical talent.
Sir Ben Kingsley has said of I Am Nasrine:
...In our economic climate this is a film of vital importance. It is now, in this uncertain climate, that the innocent strangers in our midst could so easily be victimised... It has always been my experience that when one's motives are pure, the angels will come. Having met Tina and talked about her aspirations for this film, I know her motives are pure. She aims to make a life enhancing film. An important and much needed film.
Mark Cousins writing about I Am Nasrine:
...It made me cry. It is a film that captures the beauty of human interactions - tentative and curious - and is full of ideas about how to frame and tell a story. i really admired the ellipses in your film, the boldness with which you jumped forward, and what you left out. And, of course, it is profoundly relevant and puts to shame many portayals of Iranian people.
Shari Frilot, Sundance programmer, has said of Closer:
...it takes documentary to the next level.
In The London Evening Standard ★★★★ it was said of Mother/Country:
...This documentary alone justifies the Alt-TV Strand.
In the jury statement announced by Jiří Hubička as part of One World Film Festival, The Czech Radio Award, it was said:
The jury agreed that within the collection of documentaries, the film Closer is a work of great creativity. The director uses with amazing sensitivity a large scale of real sounds and music of different types and genres (electronic, techno, modern artificial music) to underline the distinct and meaningful changes in the atmosphere. The manipulation of authentic sound almost to the extent that there is total silence is particularly compelling in the central scene of the film in which there is an intimate discussion between mother and daughter. The use of sound exponentiates the message of the film, which is a testimony about an uneasy way to find one_s identity, and the ability to overcome prejudices set by generational differences and other barriers.
- interview with Gharavi at Netribution
- "Tina Gharavi: Q&A". Guru.bafta.org. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- * 'The King of South Shields: A knockout royal visit' at the BBC
- "London Film Festival 2007: TCM Classic Shorts Competition". FILMdetail. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- 'Backing for car wash boss' by Tina Gharavi in The Shields Gazette
- "I Am Nasrine – review". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- "Interview: Award-winning filmmaker Tina Gharavi". Thejournal.co.uk. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- "MADCAT WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL". Madcatfilmfestival.org. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- "One World Festival". Archived from the original on October 12, 2009. Retrieved October 12, 2009.