We had the good fortune of connecting with Tina Gharavi and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tina, how do you think about risk?
I started my film production outfit, Bridge + Tunnel, originally because no other production company was interested in producing my work. It was the bravest and most foolish thing I have done… I didn’t realise how much there is to running a company and I am often saying if I knew what I know now… I doubt I would have started it (Excel, I mean, come-on!) … Luckily, now I have a great team who help with finance… (shout out to Kathryn Warwick!). Having a production company means you have autonomy and the chance to organise groups of people. It means autonomy, fleet of foot… and a masthead for a mad caper! But find a good accountant/bookkeeper!!

I suppose the thing is to take risks, you have to trust the process. I found solutions before and now I know I can use those skills again… I have a new venture brewing and I know it is full of potential as it makes me feel butterflies in my stomach… that risk is what I live for.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a director, writer…. a dime a dozen in this town. Only difference is, I see this as being a modern philosopher… or artist. I write because I am. I tell stories because I exist… and because the pain of living is too much if we do not have good myths and fairy tales reflected back to us. I am very very lucky that I succeeded at what I dreamt of as a young five year old—I distinctly remember being in the courtyard of my grandmother’s central Tehran townhouse and following watching an animated Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale– I think the ugly duckling– thinking “how did this move me so much… how did it make me feel so differently”… I felt empathy, connection…. films did that. Stories were so powerful. Like spells… I was hooked.

Right now I think we live in a time of poverty of stories. Our stories are not good enough and it is making us ill… We need better stories to save lives… to image other possibilities. It’s urgent.

The stories I tell are often those of people who are outsiders, rebels or misfits… or those in extraordinary circumstances.

Recently, I came to realise how much easier it is now that I have a few years behind me to be able to see the shape of stories. The craft comes. So now the challenge is to be brave enough to tell those honest origin stories we so desperately need…. But of course the challenge is sometimes to find the outlets for those stories to come alive. We have lived so long afraid of truth… We are so very afraid of those who tell us stories that the balance of us can be different that we would rather condemn them than to listen. Perhaps I am sounding all a bit too biblical. But that is what happens when you finish the interview at this hour!

When I go to the cinema (or watch the small screen), I want to feel invincible. That is what I strive for. A chance to make the audience feel invincible when they leave the cinema too. We are in the business of transformation.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a huge fan of everything Korean in LA at the moment… whether it is food or spas. Definitely giving a lot of love recently to WiSpa in Korea Town for their support of the Trans community (intersectionality will save us all, f-Yes!)

I have been living in Venice Beach most recently and fallen in love with the odd-ball screwball comedy that is Venice. The canals are great but just getting lost walking through the small side streets and looking at the architecture is dream stations!

What LA has to offer is hiking…. my fav is Pacific Palisades… The views are like portals into another dimension. LA is about the light… Always the light. Nothing beats it.

Lastly, if you know me at all, you will know I am all about the Libraries of Los Angeles… Definitely love Marina Del Ray and definitely downtown Central Library…. My fav (which is my secret location as often as I can) is the Brand Library in Glendale. A private library but gorgeous and set in a stunning park location. It doesn’t get much better.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I suppose the biggest gratitude I have is to my teachers and mentors… Esp early on, my high school art teacher, Lynn Prisco (or Mrs P)… She said do “a painting every day” which I think really equates to practicing your art daily. I still work pretty much every single day on some aspect of practice. I have also had a lot of support in the UK (where I am also based) from funding bodies like BAFTA, BFI and the Arts Council. In the US organisations like Women in Film & TV and BAFTA LA whose Newcomer Program I have been part of… Filmmaking is one big family and I have found a family in LA…Diversity. They are a constellation… and a tribe of misfits, rebels and troublemakers.

Website: www.bridgeandtunnelproductions.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/logicofthebirds/

Other: www.tinagharavi.com

Image Credits
For the photo with the red background: credited as Mary McCartney for Vogue

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.