Tina Gharavi and her critical lens

  • 20150227125132_hannahstarkeyportrait2014originalfile History is Now
    At London’s Southbank Centre, the exhibition History is Now: 7 Artists Take on B…

Maryam Violet

11 December 2014

Tina Gharavi and her critical lens


Tina Gharavi is a BAFTA-nominated award-winning filmmaker and university lecturer. Born in Iran, she studied cinema in France. The critical lens of Tina Gharavi towards patriarchy swipe from Tehran to D.C. Her diverse artistic interests gravitate towards the oppressed, minorities, asylum seekers, ostracism, and resilient people in remarkable situations. She is distinguished by her risk-taking, bold and fearless attitude towards tough subjects. Even though she makes documentaries, she doesn’t want to appeal to the “intellectual documentary” seeking crowd. Gharavi believes if the younger generation is exposed to intellectually mature subjects, they could eradicate “assumption-making” and sympathise for people they don’t directly understand yet. At the same time, she focuses on producing a universal message with each project. Gharavi is the founder and creative director of Bridge+Tunnel Productions. The BAFTA-winning & Sundance-nominated non-profit media company specializes in interactive narrative and documentary. Her notable projects include “I Am Nasrine” (2012), “Closer” (2001), “Mother/Country” (2003), etc. Gharavi’s films are challenging journeys both internally and externally, exploring nationalism, gender, identity and otherness. These complex topics make her documentary and feature films highly distinctive. “What you have in Iran is the same as you have with the government in America, In fact they are best buddies”, she tells Zanan TV.


“People have been taught to fear blackness.” Gharavi’s bold and innovative attitude towards filmmaking led her to the idea of “From the Plantation to the Penitentiary”, her upcoming Michael Moore mentored documentary. A 2012 visit to a Louisiana prison where mostly black men were picking cotton and white men on horseback with rifles were herding them inspired her. The film aims to fight against the 13th amendment in the constitution – “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” This loophole allows for U.S. prisons to legally enslave prisoners for manual labor. Companies like Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart and Microsoft have benefited from the work the prisoners are forced into. The project aims to expose white supremacy, the prison for profit industry and to urge the President to outlaw all forms of slavery.


In the words of Sir Ben Kingsley, “[I Am Nasrine is] a life enhancing film. An important and much needed film.” The Outstanding Debut BAFTA-nominated film touches upon the self-discovery of a young Iranian woman who is forced to move to the United Kingdom from her native homeland after a run-in with the police. The widely accepted and praised film exposes the harsh reality of cultural discrimination to a younger generation. As with “From the Plantation to the Penitentiary” Gharavi will expose oppression and the systems that confine them. “I want to tell people who I am when I am making a film. From your privilege comes your subjectability.”


Tina Gharavi is the founder and creative director of Bridge+Tunnel Productions.

A  Zanan TV Production

By Maryam Violet

Vide Editor: Meysam arshadi