Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival announces its opening film, and it’s a World Premiere!


Berwick-upon-Tweed Film & Media Arts Festival
Once Upon a Time
Friday 23 – Sunday 25 September 2011

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival announces its opening film, and it’s a World Premiere!

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival returns the weekend starting Friday 23rd September, and is delighted to announce its Opening Night Film: the World Premiere of I Am Nasrine – a “love song to the North East.”

Directed by Iranian-American filmmaker Tina Gharavi and produced in the North East by her Newcastle-based production company Bridge + Tunnel, I Am Nasrine is the latest feature film to come out of the region – and set to tour film festivals world-wide, starting with Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival.

The film is an intimate coming-of-age story following Nasrine and her brother Ali, as they flee their home in Tehran and set out to make another in the North East of England. Swept along by dynamic soundtrack and a captivating performance by newcomer Micsha Sadeghi as the title character, I Am Nasrine is a startlingly beautiful and profound telling of the modern day refugee experience. Supporting cast includes first-time actress Nichole Hall from the North East and Harry Potter’s Christian Coulson.

Tina Gharavi said today “Premiering at Berwick, though it might not seem obvious, is the zenith for ‘I Am Nasrine’. This is a North East affair, through and through. It was made from the communities and stories found here. The smell of the earth and its landscapes pervades this picture. Though it is set in Iran and in the North East, the film is my journey finding a home here.

Festival Director and Programmer Melanie Iredale agrees “’I Am Nasrine’ is the perfect opening film for Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival in many ways – it’s a regional production and yet international, it’s a story about borders, and about crossing them, and is the work of a storyteller and an artist.

The film was shot in Iran in 2009 under the working title of ‘Ali in Wonderland’ and has been a labour of love for all involved. “At times unbearable, at times the greatest of triumphs... “ continues Tina. “Always it was made with the communities of the North East who have the least: the travellers, gypsies, gangsters, asylum seekers, refugees - those who are always at its margins. These are the people who have made the North East a special refuge for me - those who have been most accepting.

Sir Ben Kingsley has championed the film personally, claiming I Am Nasrine as “an important and much needed film.

The film opens the Festival’s Once Upon a Time programme, which explores storytelling on screen and films and moving image art inspired by folklore, fables and fairy tales.

Melanie added, “Like all of the narratives we grew up with, ‘I Am Nasrine’ is a coming-of-age tale, an adventure absent of parents. Nasrine could be any teenager on the verge of adulthood, anywhere. Her journey of self-discovery is paved with difficulties, but all of the best stories have dark chapters.

Director Tina Gharavi, producers James Baillie and Gerry Maguire, as well as the film’s cast and crew will be present to introduce the film on stage at The Maltings Theatre & Cinema, on Friday 23rd September at 7pm. The screening will be followed by another World Premiere, that of a specially commissioned video projection by Gareth Hudson & Jack Burton entitled Penumbra at the nearby Dewar’s Lane Granary as part of a special reception. Celebrations will continue at The Maltings Stage Door Bar until late.

For an opportunity to catch the World Premiere of I Am Nasrine, tickets can be bought from Tuesday 30th August at or from The Maltings Box Office on 01289 330999.

Tina concludes “This is my love song for the North East, so it is fitting that it opens at Berwick and I hope audiences who see it will understand what it felt like to be a stranger in a strange land.

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