Tina Gharavi

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Tina Gharavi
تینا غروی
Gharavi on the set of The Tunnel
Born (1972-07-01) 1 July 1972 (age 51) [1]
Occupation(s) Artist, director, screenwriter, professor
Years active1998–present
Website Official website

Tina Gharavi (Persian : تینا غروی born 1 July 1972) is an Iranian-born British BAFTA and Sundance nominated artist, director and screenwriter.


Early life and education

Born in Tehran, her family moved to the United Kingdom, then New Zealand, and finally New Jersey, United States. Gharavi attended high school in suburban New Jersey, spending part of her life in Red Bank, close to the Jersey Shore. Gharavi initially trained as a painter at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She later attended Le Fresnoy studio National des arts contemporains, near Lille, France. She currently splits her time between Newcastle, England and Venice Beach, California. [2]


Gharavi is known for her innovative cross-platform stories about rebels, misfits and outsiders as well as people in extraordinary situations. [3] According to The Spectator , Gharavi's work is simultaneously intimate and lyrical, as well as poignant and political. [4]

Her debut, I Am Nasrine , was nominated for a BAFTA. [5] Sir Ben Kingsley called it "an important and much-needed film" [6] and Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film four stars, writing that it was "a valuable debut, shot with a fluent kind of poetry". 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 4. She is a showrunner for an Icelandic/British Detective series, Refurinn (The Fox), an adaptation of an Icelandic best-selling detective series by Sólveig Pálsdóttir. [7]

Gharavi's award-winning work has been 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). 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 in New York, amongst others.[ citation needed ]

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 organizations (UK Refugee Council, Arts Council North-East, Tyneside Cinema and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts). Gharavi is an associate professor in Film & Digital Media at the University of Newcastle. [8] 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. [9] In 2000, Gharavi set up the Kooch Cinema Group, a media training project, for asylum seekers and refugee participants; the 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. This led to the development of the feature film, I Am Nasrine , which received a BAFTA nomination in 2013. In 2014, she co-established Bridge + Tunnel France in Paris with James Richard Baillie to specialize in European co-productions. In 2019, she set up Which Witch, a new banner to undertake long-form TV drama, launching their first production, Refurinn, aka The Fox, set in the UK and Iceland.

Selected filmography

YearFilm / TVNotes
2024Refurinn/The Fox (Nomadic Pictures/Polarama/Bridge + Tunnel/Which Witch)High End Episodic TV - Director/Showrunner. Icelandic-British detective series based on the books of Sólveig Pálsdóttir. Optioned by Nomadic Pictures who produced Fargo.
2024 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

2023A Beirut Love StoryFeature Film - Director/Screenwriter

In post-production with Millenium Films (US) and Nuboyana Studios

2023 African Queens: Queen Cleopatra High End Episodic TV [4x40'] - Director

Netflix series - Nutopia/Westbrook fiction drama series about the often misunderstood, largely unknown life of the last Pharaoh. Executive produced by Westbrook's Jada Pinkett-Smith

2020Tribalism Is Killing UsFeature Documentary Film - Director/Producer Website: Tribalism is Killing Us.
2018Ackley Bridge (Channel Four TV/The Forge)High End Episodic TV- Episodes 5 & 6 - Director Website: Channel Four's Ackley Bridge, Series 2.
2017The Tunnel: Vengeance (Sky TV / Kudos)High End Episodic TV - Second Unit Director Website: Sky TV's The Tunnel, Series 3.
2015People Like UsShort 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.[17] Winner (Best Screenplay): Brooklyn Film Festival, 2012.[18] 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. It was screened in the Houses of Parliament in London to a selection of invited MPs. It was also nominated for a BAFTA in 2013.

2008The King of South ShieldsDocumentary - Director/Producer

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

A 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 recognizing the duality of their culture.

The opening film of the Sheffield International Documentary Festival in 2008. Website: thekingofsouthshields.co.uk Archived 7 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine .

2007–2013Last of the Dictionary MenInstallation & 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. [10]

2007Perfect to BeginShort Fiction- Script Editor/Producer
Awards/Honours : Winner: TCM Classic Shorts Competition [11]
2007Two LighthousesPoetry Film & Documentary- Director/ Producer
2007Asylum CarwashDocumentary Installation- Director/Producer
Commissioned - Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

Asylum Carwash, is an eight-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. [12]

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

2006Bread: Nearest Neighbor: Israel & PalestineDocumentary Installation- Director/Producer
Opened - Shanghai Zendai Museum of Contemporary Art, China
2004FeatherheadShort Fiction- Director/Producer
Distributed - Alzheimer's Society Filmed by Cinematographer Brian Tufano
2002A Town Like LackawannaDocumentary- 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. It was commissioned as part of a residency sponsored by the NEA.

2002Mother/CountryDocumentary- 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]

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 her 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.

Time Out selected Mother/Country as Pick of the Week, and called it "genuinely moving".

2001Closer 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]

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

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  1. "Tina Gharavi". IMDb . Retrieved 19 August 2023.
  2. "Tina Gharavi: Q&A". Guru.bafta.org. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  3. interview with Gharavi at Netribution
  4. "Tina Gharavi · Deborah Ross · Review Stir Yourself". The Spectator. 15 June 2013.
  5. "Tina Gharavi: Q&A". Guru.bafta.org. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  6. "BEV chats to I Am Nasrine dir. Tina Gharavi | Birds Eye View". birds-eye-view.co.uk. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015.
  7. palsdottir, solveig. [solveigpalsdottir.is "Ms"]. solveig palsdottir. solveigpalsdottir.is. Retrieved 19 May 2022.{{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  8. "Tina Gharavi · BIFA · British Independent Film Awards". BIFA · British Independent Film Awards. 12 October 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  9. "Tina Gharavi: Q&A". Guru.bafta.org. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  10. "London Film Festival 2007: TCM Classic Shorts Competition". FILMdetail. November 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  11. 'Backing for car wash boss' by Tina Gharavi in The Shields Gazette