Our Mentors

 
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Tina Gharavi

Mentor

Born in Tehran, Tina Gharavi is a BAFTA-nominated, award-winning TV and film showrunner and director initially trained as a painter in the United States later studying cinema in France. Her debut feature, I Am Nasrine, a coming of age story of two teenage Iranian refugees, was nominated for a BAFTA in 2013. The film received 4 stars from Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian calling it, "A valuable debut, shot with a fluent kind of poetry" while Deborah Ross in the Spectator described it as “affectionate, humane, tender and, ultimately, optimistic.”


Gharavi has made films from unique perspectives on subjects as diverse as Muhammad Ali, teenage sexuality, Yemeni-British sailors, The Lackawanna 6, death row exonerees, refugees and lighthouses. Her first short, Closer, a 35mm film 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. Further works such as The King of South Shields and People Like Us deal with “the outsider” and her work often explores the issues of strategies of power and “who speaks for whom.”


Since leaving Iran in 1979 she has been a true nomad; carrying no less than 4 passports she currently resides in Northern England and Los Angeles where she is working on her follow-up feature, The Good Iranian, with the BFI and Film 4; a gangster tale set in Europe and Iran, a further feature documentary about tribalism and othering, Tribalism is Killing Us (voice over from Idris Elba). She recently worked as Second Unit Director on the high-end drama, The Tunnel, the UK version of The Bridge and is now engaged on several TV directing projects. Currently she is showrunning a returning episodic TV series, Refurinn (The Fox), an Icelandic Noir and shooting her second feature film in Beirut and Bulgaria.


Gharavi was elected into the BAFTA Academy in 2017 and is represented by Roxana Adle at Independent Talent in the UK and Noah Jones at Gersh in Los Angeles.

Guest Speakers

 
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Todd Strauss Schulson

Director, screenwriter, producer, editor, and cinematographer

Ever since his grandfather gave him a video camera for his Bar Mitzvah (after years of relentless pestering), Todd Strauss-Schulson has been a one-man movie-making machine – directing, writing, shooting and editing all of his own work.

Born and raised in Queens, he attended Emerson College; where he won numerous awards, including Panavision’s prestigious New Filmmakers prize. Upon graduating, Todd moved to Los Angeles. It wasn’t long before he was helming high-concept music videos for major label artists. His music video work led to a 6-month stint in China and Thailand, where he wrote and directed MTV Whatever Things, a more stylish version of Jackass with an all-western cast. It became the most popular show on MTV Asia with an international audience of over 250 Million.

Back in the States, Todd has directed short films and TV shows with comic greats like Stephen Colbert, Amy Schumer, Seth Macfarlane, Jeffery Tambor, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGeneres, The Onion, Lewis Black, Patton Oswalt, Thomas Middleditch, Adam Devine, Eric Andre, Laura Silverman, Natasha Leggero and Damon Wayans. Todd’s personal project Mano-A-Mano was a selection of the 2008 SXSW Film Festival. In 2009, SXSW invited Todd back to premiere his new short film Big Pussy, which was subsequently selected to screen at the world famous Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal.

At 29 years old, Todd teamed with New Line Cinema and Mandate Pictures to spearhead his first feature film, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas. The film – which was released by Warner Brothers in 2011 in stereoscopic 3D (the first stoner movie ever shot in 3D and the first Christmas movie ever shot in 3D and arguably the first comedy ever shot in 3D and this is the longest sentence to ever use the term 3D this many times) – boasts an all-star comedic cast including Kal Penn, John Cho and Neil Patrick Harris.

His sophomore effort, The Final Girls for Sony Pictures and Groundswell Productions, had its world premiere on Friday the 13th at SXSW’s opening night. It won the Audience Award at the Stanley Film Festival, was a Gala Premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and was the closing night film at the 2015 Midnight Madness series at the Toronto Film Festival. In the years since, it has amassed cult status—counting Stephen King, Sam Raimi, and Quentin Tarantino as vocal fans.

Todd’s new feature film Isn’t It Romantic starring Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine, and Priyanka Chopra was released Valentines Day 2019 breaking hearts nationwide.

Todd will write and direct his next feature titled, “Silent Retreat” for Miramax.