Forest Gate Girls documentary nominated for Grierson Award

Tariq Elmeri, director of Forest Gate Girls

Tariq Elmeri, director of Forest Gate Girls - Credit: Archant

A short film about the lives of Muslim girls going to school in the borough has been nominated for Britain’s most prestigious documentary awards.

Still from the documentary

Still from the documentary - Credit: Tariq Elmeri

Forest Gate Girls, which follows year 10 students from Quwwat-Ul-Islam Girls’ school in Chaucer Road, has been nominated for a Grierson award for the best student documentary.

US born director, Tariq Elmeri, said he was excited to be nominated and pleased that so many women had been nominated as well.

“It’s one of those weird things you don’t expect - you usually hear about it happening to someone else. I’m excited and surprised there were so many female directors and films about women nominated as well,” said Tariq. “To think that the most prestigious documentary awards in Britain has nominated a film about a British minority.”

For Tariq, the motivation behind the film came from his interest in exploring communities which he feels are often misrepresented or overlooked in the media.

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“We don’t really get to see people as who they are in all parts of the country but the next best thing is watch it on TV. It allows people who are interested to see what an all girls Muslim school looks like inside.”

Another issue that the documentary touches on is the identity of Muslim girls in Britain.

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“How do Muslim girls identify themselves in Britain? As a person growing up how do they deal with the news when their identity is under attack?

“We also have clusters of villages in London where people have relatives living nearby - there’s more of a community aspect over here (compared to America) but it can be a problem because an outsider might see them as closed and cut off.

“Me personally I like diversity and to learn from different people - I don’t have a need to have people like me around all the time.”

The final nominations will be decided on September 20 with the Grierson Awards Ceremony taking place on the evening of Monday, November 7, at The Mermaid in Blackfriars.

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