LifeLines - I Am Nasrine Branding

Tina Gharavi’s BAFTA-nominated feature film I Am Nasrine follows the story of Nasrine and her brother Ali leaving their home country Iran in pursuit of a new beginning. In this coming of age story we meet a young woman who is doing her best to understand herself and to deal with the consequences of the politics around her. This is a rite of passage story set in the modern asylum seeker experience.

I Am Nasrine was the culmination of grassroots workshops with refugees and asylum seekers who themselves were trained in film-making which culminated in the production of a feature film, I Am Nasrine, directed by TG who herself was a refugee. The film was nominated for a BAFTA in 2013 and went on theatrical release in 2013/14 with a further community engagement with an educational training pack around the North East in 2015/16.

Project timeline


Community Workshops with adult refugees.


Community Workshops with teen refugees.


Production and film training workshops on set and oral history (film shoot: June/July 2009), festival distribution.


Theatrical release to audiences and public screenings (nationally & globally) (BAFTA nom: 2013), festival distribution.


Community engagement & education Outreach: LIFELINES community workshop programme & Teacher’s Pack

The journey of I Am Nasrine film spans across a 15 year period involving grassroots community outreach work, community arts, storytelling workshops, improvisation techniques and the creation of an interactive platform for user-driven content production.

The film, initially developed under the name of Ali in Wonderland, was produced in different stages incorporating real life stories in order to produce a daring and honest drama exploring universal themes in a powerful and engaging way.

Find out more about the journey of I Am Nasrine across each phase

Award-winning director and producer Tina Gharavi collaborated over an eight-year period (2001-2008) with various groups of individuals from a refugee and asylum seeker background.

Through a series of film-making workshops, storytelling circles, dinners and weekly film training sessions, Gharavi immersed herself into the practice of community arts, while offering individuals the chance to share their stories through the medium of film. The stories shared over Persian food and tea constituted the narrative arc of the film that would later be known as I Am Nasrine.

Working closely with different individuals and groups who had gone through the refugee experience, writer/director Tina Gharavi was able to produce a feature film script with authenticity and genuine storytelling

Phase 1

2002 Kooch Cinema Project (Farsi for ‘nomad’ or ‘migratory’)

The Kooch Project was a unique community media initiative developed in conjunction with people of Middle Eastern descent currently based in the North East of England by Tina Gharavi in 2002. Kooch was established in an effort to bring together members of the Middle-Eastern Diaspora in the North-East of England to share their experiences. At the same time, the project trained participants in media production skills, allowing them to share their stories with the wider community- encouraging positive dialogue- as well as developing as creative practitioners.

Phase 1

2003 Kooch Cinema Project 2

Kooch cinema project 2 served as the second phase of community project Kooch engaging an adult group of refugees and asylum seekers in the production of co-authored film projects. The films covered a wider range of issues and in particular explore notions of identity, asylum and exile, racism, social exclusion and issues surrounding gender and sexuality.


The Kiss - A film by Meetra Bahmani documenting the act of kissing and examining the different social functions and reactions to it.

Birthday Suit - A film by Fereshtah Etamadi looking at nudism and contrasting the attitudes of British people with those of people in Iran.

Umbilical Cord - A film by Roya Kafi Rezaee. A drama about the experiences and fears of a mother living as an asylum seeker with her young child

A Life in The Day and Me Him and You(Diptych) – Two films by Maziar Mahmid focusing on the confusion of Iranian/British identity.

Simply Different - A drama following the experiences of a young man suffering from learning difficulties. Written and directed by Mohammad Cheraghi.

A Mothers Choice - A piece by Faroozan Ghadiri dramatizing the difficult choices faced by women leaving Iran as refugees.

The Normal Heart - A reworking of the script A Normal Heart by Larry Kramer, directed by Houman Birgani and Reza Kianpour.

A Beautiful Day- A film based on real events in the life of filmmaker Akram Najarzadeh.

Funded by:

Arts Council England, Northern Rock Foundation, Newcastle City Council.

Supported by:

New Writing North, Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle Central Library

Phase 1

2003 Kooch Cinema Project 3

Community project Kooch’s third and final including the production of community drama and film projects. The project included master classes led by various local community arts workers who were collaborating with individuals interested in drama and media production techniques, culminating in a screening of their own original work.


The Sword – A film about the strangeness and melancholy of everyday life

Asylum Birds - A film about trying to find a home and a place to be accepted

Cheating: East & West - An investigation on the attitudes of women and the experience of cheating husbands

Metallica Iranian Style- An investigation into heavy metal music and the cultural attitudes of Eastern / Western youth.

Funded By:

Northern Film & Media, Scarman Trust

Supported By:

New Writing North, Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle Central Library

Phase 1

2003 Nomad's Children

Directed by Emily Barber, is about the heartache and necessity of losing parts of our history, both personal and cultural. Probing a little deeper into what we mean by home, Nomad’s Children is a film that explores human contradictions of longing to maintain our roots and belong to a community, whilst retaining a sense of independence and individuality. Reza Kianpour was lead actor in this piece, trained by Kooch through drama workshops.

Phase 1

2005 The Wonderland Volunteering Project Kooch Kids: Everything is Different

A community based project working with young refugee and asylum seekers from Tyneside, to produce a short film. Over a five-day period in the summer holidays, seven young people worked with director, Tina Gharavi to learn about various aspects of filmmaking from storytelling, directing, camera, sound, and acting. They created their first short film Everyone is Different, which was screened at Westgate Hill Primary School.

Supported by:

First Light, The High Sheriff Award and Westgate Hill Primary School

Phase 1

2006 Kooch Kids: Ring of Friendship

A community based film project working with a group of young people from Marine Park Primary School and Hadrian School in South Shields. The project addressed issues of diversity, belonging and acceptance and served as an exercise of empathy and creative collaboration.

Supported by:

Creative Partnerships The Customs House

Phase 1

2006 i-Kooch

A community web narrative project for Middle-Eastern asylum seekers and refugees based in the North East of England to share their stories worldwide. The project culminated in the creation of an interactive website, continually developed and updated by all Kooch group members.

Funded by:

Hallwalls Media Institute, The National Endowment of the Arts (US) Northern Film & Media, Newcastle City Council, Your Homes Newcastle, Awards for All, Arts Council England

Phase 1

2007 Wiki: Wonderlands Youth Film Project

Wiki: An Interactive Website was a unique interactive project to create online stories to reflect young people’s real-life experiences in fictional form. This will be a visible process giving young people the tools to experiment with narrative and empowering them to inspire change while inventing fresh cinematic and multimedia models.

The first teen refugee group was established in 2007, where participants completed a series workshops and media training master-classes, allowing young people to develop their storytelling and media skills in the development and production of stories relating to refugees and asylum seekers. The project was also developed through an interactive storytelling platform that allowed participants to become in charge of the storytelling process.

Press and testimonials

What people are saying about

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. Tina aims to make a life enhancing film. An important and much needed film.”Sir Ben Kingsley
“I Am Nasrine is a tender and affecting coming of age movie. Tina Gharavi is one to watch out for. Heartening and uplifting to come across an Iranian woman filmmaker with Gharavi’s magical yet methodical talent.”Jackie Kay,
Poet & Novelist
This low budget British feature, set in both Iran and Newcastle, is an impressively earnest tale of cultural differences and coming of age that has a faint tinge of some of the work of Ken Loach. This is a strong UK feature made on a shoestring. Young actress Micsha Sadeghi gives a strong performance as a young girl struggling with her identity and is ably supported by Shiraz Haq as her stoic yet confused brother. Gharavi films in a loose, naturalistic style that mostly works in giving the film an intimate and emotional feel.”Screen Int, Sept 2011
“I am greatly impressed by a film which conveys such a strong message on so many levels: it portrays the problems faced by Iranians fleeing from the injustices and denial of human rights that they experience in their own country and the added difficulties they face when trying to make their way in the UK especially against a background of enforced illegal working and hostility; it demonstrates how much more we as a society could do to try to understand why asylum seekers come to the UK, from what they are fleeing, to understand that they are human beings just like us with the same aspirations and wants; it manifests the differences in cultural norms between societies and examines sensitively this in particular through Nasrine’s and her brother’s awakening sexuality and, in the case of the former, how easily that can be blighted by previous rape and brutality... Read moreKeith Best, Chief executive Freedom from Torture
“I finally watched 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 [...] It is profoundly relevant and puts to shame many portrayals of Iranian people.” Mark Cousins, Film Historian & Critic
“I Am Nasrine introduces a new way of looking at and understanding the issues of refugees and migration to the UK. There is so much material here for discussion in the classroom; it offers the chance for teachers and pupils to explore a range of important issues, all presented in the form of a highly professional and original film.” Stephen Edwards Director of Yarn School
“I Am Nasrine is a powerful film based on real experiences of young refugees arriving into the UK. With busy lives, it’s difficult for teachers to find in roads to teaching about immigration and the real experiences of young people in our care. Watching this moving and brilliantly crafted film, helps teachers adopt new strategies to effect real change in young people and offers innovative curriculum design, which will make the lessons meaningful and memorable. Helen Walker, inner city ex-Primary Headteacher, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Bridge & Tunnel

Bridge + Tunnel is a BAFTA-nominated media production established in 1997 by award winning director and producer Tina Gharavi, in Newcastle, England to support ‘unheard voices, untold stories’.

Bridge + Tunnel was founded on a principle of producing work with uncompromising creative vision, cultural sensitivity and artistic experimentation, our portfolio of award-winning work encompasses groundbreaking experimental documentaries (Mother Country for Channel Four), fiction and short films (Featherhead, Closer, People Like Us, King of South Shields) , installations and interactive digital projects (Last of the Dictionary Men, Wiki: Wonderland, Tribalism is Killing Us) as well as feature films, including the 2013 BAFTA nominated drama I Am Nasrine as well as The Good Iranian currently in development with Film Four and BFI as well as Back-Up Media (Paris) through the new European wing of the company, Bridge + Tunnel France.

Bridge + Tunnel films and documentaries have been screened internationally at festivals including the American Film Institute, official selections at the Sundance Film Festival, IDFA, Edinburgh Film Festival and broadcast on many channels including the Sundance Channel, ITV, TCM and Channel 4. Read more...

Lead Artist, Tina Gharavi

Tina Gharavi is a BAFTA-nominated film-maker, born in Iran, initially trained as a painter in the United States, later studying cinema in France. She is noted for innovative cross-platform work, working both in documentary and fiction, and has garnered the attention of the film industry through her acclaimed first feature, I Am Nasrine, released in 2012. Movie Scope magazine, named her one to watch and Gharavi was selected by the Film Council as an up-and-coming British director as part of the Film Council’s Guiding Lights initiative where she was mentored by Beeban Kidron.

Fearless in her approach to storytelling, her work has been broadcast internationally and her installations exhibited at museums around the world. Her focus has consistently been risk-taking, imaginative in its perspective, attempting challenging topics in places as diverse as Yemen, Sudan, Iran and Palestine.

Gharavi established Bridge + Tunnel, an award-winning media production company, in Newcastle, England to support “unheard voices, untold stories”. Her first 35mm short film, Closer, was an official selection at Sundance where programmer, Shari Frilot, noted 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. The resulting film, 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.” Her work often explores “the outsider” while always appealing to a mainstream audience.

Her first feature film, I Am Nasrine,is a coming of age story of two teenage Iranian refugees. Sir Ben Kingsley called it “a life enhancing film… An important and much needed film” and received the Outstanding Debut nomination from BAFTA in 2013. Bridge + Tunnel Introduction The Story So Far People Words Work Shop Contact.