Dr Tina Gharavi

‘Things I wish I could have told my younger self’


Born in Tehran, Tina Gharavi is a BAFTA-nominated, award-winning filmmaker, artist, and academic trained in the United States, UK and France. Her work has been broadcast internationally and she is noted for innovative cross-platform work on migration as well as issues related to equality and diversity. In 2001 she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Residency in Buffalo NY, and she was the recipient of the 2008 UK based Cultural Leadership Programme fellowship at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.  In 2010, Gharavi was selected as one of nine emerging directors to be mentored as part of the Film Council’s Guiding Lights scheme and nominated for a BAFTA in 2013.

Gharavi established Bridge + Tunnel, a multidisciplinary media production company, in 1998, with the aim of using innovative techniques to promote greater understanding by bringing untold stories of minorities and marginalised people to a wider, mainstream audience. This spin-out enterprise is of great benefit to the students that she teaches as it allows them to gain hands-on experience in the workplace and the University benefits towards its engagement and impact agenda.

                In 2000 she directed Closer, a 35mm film which an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001 and was awarded the Grand Prize at Outfest in Los Angeles. Sundance programmer Shari Frilot commented that ‘it takes documentary to the next level.’ Gharavi’s next major production chronicled her return to her mother’s house in Iran, 23 years after the Islamic Revolution. Mother/Country was broadcast at prime time on Channel 4 in the UK where the national press gave it top billing and the London Evening Standard described it as “genuinely moving.”

                Gharavi completed a Channel Four/Britdoc supported documentary about the oldest Arab/Muslim Community in Britain and the day world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali got married in the local mosque. The King of South Shields was screening as part of a major international touring exhibition, Last of the Dictionary Men, about the South Shields Yemeni Sailors, which launched at the prestigious BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2008. The exhibition went on to tour the Yemen and Middle-East in collaboration with the British Council during 2009. In 2013, it opened in London at the Qattan Foundation’s Mosaic Rooms and elements of the show were acquired as part of the permanent collection of the British Museum.

                Gharavi’s debut feature film, I Am Nasrine, is a coming of age story of two teenage Iranian refugees in the North of England. Sir Ben Kingsley called it “a life enhancing film... An important and much needed film”. The film employs innovative distribution outlets that will allow the film to be viewed in schools across the UK as part of the citizenship curriculum as well as being screened at the Houses of Parliament to politicians in London. I Am Nasrine was developed in collaboration with Bridge + Tunnel Voices, a registered charity that Gharavi set up in 2000 to train refugees and asylum seekers in media production techniques empowering them to tell their unique stories.

                Gharavi is currently a Senior Lecturer in Film/Digital Media at Newcastle University and is a visiting lecturer worldwide. She completed her PhD “Narrative Cannibals: Whose Story Is It Anyway? The politics of representation and the veracity of the image in the age of digital storytelling” in 2013 and has been awarded a Fellowship at MIT in the Open Documentary Lab working on her next film.

                In her spare time, Tina dreams of becoming a beekeeper in Iran. She is represented as a director by Independent Talent.