Tanna: The Movie

This year saw the release of the first film shot entirely on location in Vanuatu.

Titled Tanna, the film has received critical acclaim, winning two major awards and nomination in the best foreign film category in the 2017 Academy Awards. Having received such praise, it is welcoming to note that traditional life in Vanuatu and our outstanding natural beauty played a significant sole in the storytelling of the film.

The Story

Tanna, the film, follows a story of the Yakel tribe and their Kastom (the local word for tradition). Love and heartbreak ensue when a local girl and her lover are forbidden from seeing each other after she is promised to a man from a rival tribe.

The People and Place

Although the film was made by Australian film makers Martin Butler and Bently Dean, the entirety of the cast are actual Yakel Tribe members who mostly play themselves. The storyline was written in cooperation with the tribe, who evidently had embraced western influence three decades ago and abolished their traditionalist view on arranged marriages. This partnership resulted in a film that showcases the true beauty of a people “that time forgot.” The chief of Yakel was noted as saying “This is our film now,” a statement that the filmmakers have acknowledged as their highest praise. 

The Scene

As a visual spectacle, Tanna is garnering rave reviews. Featuring breathtaking cinematography that shows off the natural beauty of Tanna – the film features everything from the stunning Mt Yasur Volcano to tropical backdrop of the Island’s rainforests. It’s a raw and beautiful representation of the diversity that Tanna offers as a natural setting.