AN independent film made “on a shoestring” by a Tyneside university lecturer has been nominated for a Bafta.
I Am Nasrine – which is written, directed and produced by Tina Gharavi – is the coming-of-age story of an Iranian asylum seeker set in Newcastle.
The feature is on a shortlist of five for the Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer award.
Semi-autobiographical and made with just £200,000, Newcastle University’s lecturer in digital media said I Am Nasrine could not have become a reality without the help of people from the North East.
She has spoken of her joy at receiving the nomination yesterday morning.
“I kept thinking I am delirious and that it hasn’t really happened or maybe that I am dreaming,” she said.
“It is a little bit surprising and it feels unreal because it is such a small film and when you look at all the other amazing films it is standing next to.”
Tina, who lives in South Shields, moved to the North East from her birth country of Iran when she was six, during the time of the Iranian Revolution.
The film, which premiered at the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival in Northumberland, is a tale of cultural differences and Tina’s style has drawn comparisons with veteran British filmmaker Ken Loach.
It tells the story of Nasrine, played by Micsha Sadeghi, a young woman who flees Iran with her brother Ali in the aftermath of 9/11 to the North East, and falls in with Nichole, a girl from the traveller community.
Tina believes the nomination will mean her work will reach a larger audience.
“I was quite proud of the film but people haven’t taken very much notice of it until today,” said Tina.
“The Bafta nomination has really been wonderful because it will make sure people will see I Am Nasrine and know about it.
“It has been a small team that made the film, and it has been a very difficult thing to get made considering we had no proper film funding.
“It is a David and Goliath story really when our film can stand amongst those on the list.”
Tina has now set about new projects, making a documentary, the details of which are “top secret”, a thriller set in Kurdistan and a high budget gangster film.
She thanked the people from the region who helped her to make I Am Nasrine.
“A lot of people in the North East helped us,” she said. “Working class people and asylum seekers were among them and many that you wouldn’t expect.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without all those amazing people.”
The film goes up against: The Imposter, by Bart Layton and Dimitro Doganis; McCullin, by David and Jacqui Morris; Wild Bill, by Dexter Fletcher and Danny King; and The Muppets, by James Bobin.
Also nominated, as reported in The Journal earlier this week, is Whitley Bay-born actress Andrea Riseborough in the Rising Star category.