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Tina Gharavi • Directora, guionista y showrunner

"El problema de muchas personas es que el núcleo de su historia no es sólido o no están completamente seguros de lo que quieren expresar"


- La creadora nominada a los BAFTA ha guiado el Writers Lab en el festival Stockfish, abierto a participantes que ya han trabajado en un largo o en un episodio de serie

Tina Gharavi  • Directora, guionista y showrunner
(© Mary McCartney)

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

During Reykjavik’s Stockfish Film Festival (4-14 April), Cineuropa spoke to BAFTA-nominated writer-director and showrunner Tina Gharavi. At the Icelandic gathering, the Iranian-born, British filmmaker led the Writers Lab, which ran at the Nordic House from 5-7 April. Twelve participants with a prior TV episode or feature credit were invited to take part in the programme with their script in development.

Gharavi helmed her debut feature, I Am Nasrine [+lee también:
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, in 2012. She recently finished directing her first Netflix series, the much-debated hybrid drama-documentary African Queens: Cleopatra, for Westbrook, which was executive-produced by Jada Pinkett-Smith. Gharavi is also an academic, teaching filmmaking around the world, and was awarded an MIT Fellowship.

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Cineuropa: You’ve worked as a director, screenwriter and showrunner on a number of productions, but you have also taught extensively. What are the most rewarding aspects of teaching emerging professionals?
Tina Gharavi:
Mastering the art of storytelling is perhaps my most remarkable superpower. While many perceive it as an act of generosity, I must confess it’s driven by pure self-interest, even if it is just about sharpening my axe. I truly believe that if you know how to do something, you know how to do it more deeply if you can teach it. I love the way things are always questioned and seen from unique perspectives when people are learning it. I’m truly lucky that communication and teaching come to me naturally… In fact, I think it gives me a certain kind of energy that really sets me alight.

How was the Writers Lab structured? What types of skills did your participants aim to develop?
The lab aimed to guide participants in crafting a new draft of their script within the three-day period. Through collaborative workshops, attendees addressed script issues and charted a course for further development, post-lab. The primary focus was on exploring the thematic underpinnings of the story and its evolution over time, recognising films as catalysts for change. Additionally, emphasis was placed on refining participants’ ability to articulate their ideas to others while gaining clarity on the story's purpose for themselves. Pitching skills were sharpened, leading to presentations to a panel of industry professionals during the lab’s culmination. Expert feedback guided further refinement, with accolades bestowed upon the top pitches.

What about the profiles of the participants? What types of projects were they working on?
There was a diverse and rich group of people at the workshop. People came from Los Angeles, Berlin and Iceland as well as the UK. As this was not a beginners’ course, everyone had some industry experience, and some people had worked in TV and comedy, while others were from a documentary background or had worked in production. It was great to be with such a diverse group, and there was a wonderful sense of camaraderie amongst the attendees.

What types of struggles are they facing? And how did you suggest they overcome them?
Generally, the issue for most people is that the core of their story is not solid or they’re not absolutely sure what they are expressing. This is why I decided to focus on “theme” in this workshop. Of course, different projects have different problems that need to be contended with. Ultimately, it was great, as a group of people could discuss your idea and offer different perspectives as you worked through the next iteration of its design.

You’re attached as the showrunner of a brand-new Icelandic show, titled The Fox. Could you tell us anything about this detective series and about working with Icelandic professionals?
Indeed, I’m developing an adaptation of a series of books by Sólveig Pálsdóttir, which starts off with The Fox. We’re currently in development with Polarama in Reykjavík and are producing it with Nomadic Pictures, which is based in Canada and made the series Fargo. We’re pulling the series together and finding finance. We’re getting closer and closer. Very exciting times!

What else are you cooking up?
Besides that, I’m currently working on my next feature, which is an adaptation of a Virginia Woolf novel called Night and Day. It’s the story of a woman who would like to be an astrophysicist in 1910 in London. The finance is nearly complete, and we hope to begin production in July this year. All being well, this will be my third feature film. I’m also currently in development on my fourth film, which is a biopic about an Iranian woman poet, Forugh Farrokhzad. So, at the moment, things are quite busy, and I have a couple of documentary projects in the works as well, which I'm equally excited about. I am so lucky to have this rich landscape of projects and really love the teams I am working with.

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