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The screening of a new film set in Newcastle and Iran marks the start of an ambitious venture designed to raise the profile of film in our region.

I Am Nasrine, Newcastle University lecturer Tina Gharavi’s first feature film, tracks the lives of two teenagers who are forced to flee their homeland to start a new life in the North East.

The film, being screened at the Tyneside Cinema this Sunday (23 October 2011), is the first in a series of events to mark the launch of Newcastle University’s new Research Centre in Film and Digital Media.

After falling foul of the oppressive Iranian regime once too often, young Iranian girl Nasrine is packed off to the UK under the watchful eye of her brother Ali. The young heroine soon falls in with Nichole, a girl from the local travellers’ community in Newcastle, and begins to taste real freedom for the first time, much to the dismay of her brother. But the new culture is also affecting Ali more than he realizes and soon both world events and personal traumas change their lives forever.

“Our goal with I Am Nasrine is to show how and why young refugees and asylum seekers end up living in places like Tyneside and to highlight the challenges they face in growing up in a new and very different country,” said director Tina Gharavi.

I Am Nasrine was developed through working closely with local communities in the North East. “It is a truly innovative feature film, in terms of both development and financing,” she said. “We have been working with young refugees and asylum seekers in all aspects of filmmaking, media production and script development for the past eight years and I Am Nasrine has evolved out of that process. At the end of this film we care about these characters; importantly, this film humanizes the asylum experience.”

More than 100 young people have participated in the project and their stories inspired and added depth to the script.

Oscar winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley has supported the project since its inception and is the film’s patron. “In our economic climate this is a film of vital importance,” he said. “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.”

Newcastle University’s Research Centre in Film and Digital Media is running a series of public events taking place over the next few months, following the screening of I Am Nasrine, including:

•    a free gala screening of short films made by young people from local asylum seeker and refugee groups at the University’s Culture Lab, on 5 November 2011 from 4-6pm

•    an afternoon with UK film producer Nadine Marsh Edwards on 18 November at Culture Lab from 4-7pm which will include a Q and A on the state of the British film industry and a screening of her classic film Looking for Langston. This event is also free, but ticketed, so please see the website for further details.

“Our aim is to develop and celebrate Newcastle’s status as a brilliant city for film,” said research centre director Guy Austin, of Newcastle University. “Along with screenings, workshops and talks which showcase the University’s own work, we will also be collaborating with partners such as the Tyneside, Side, local film production companies and the BBC.”

It is hoped the new centre will encourage more film and digital media students and practitioners from across the UK and further afield to consider studying and working in the North East.

I Am Nasrine (15TBC) is in English and Persian with English subtitles and a trailer is available to view.

Tina will introduce the film on 23 October at 5.30pm and there will also be Iranian musicians and a Q-and-A session afterwards. It is advisable to book tickets in advance through the Tyneside.

 

published on: 19th October 2011

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