On May 6 2012 we reported that only two out of 127 films released in the UK between January and March 2012 were of Middle Eastern origin and asked users why they thought this might be.
The majority of respondents believed that the distributors were not interested, although some also suggested that it was due to a lack of interest among the public as well.
Tina Gharavi is an Iranian filmmaker and a lecturer in digital media at Newcastle University. Her first feature film, I Am Nasrine, has been highly rated on IMDB since it came out in February but is not yet widely accessible in the UK.
She suggests that if there are challenges with promoting Middle Eastern films, they are ones associated with the independent film movement as a whole. “My instinct is that there would be that there is a very strong Middle Eastern audience in this country and the reason that these films are not getting out is that distribution is really screwed up.”
However, of the 5 screenings of I Am Nasrine that she has organised so far, she estimates that the venue has been 80% full. As well as promoting the film on Facebook and through local media, she stresses the importance of working with fans. “I usually say at the end of the screening, ‘You are the oxygen of the film. Please tell two or three people about it.'”