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Vanuatu in the

frame Glenn Dunks reports on two Australian directors who lived with the Yakel tribe on Tanna Island for seven months to make their remarkable movie Tanna.


he island of Tanna, one of many that make up the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, may appear to be lost in time. Among the residents of this place is the Yakel tribe, where the people live according to a traditional way of life known as kastom. It goes back thousands of years to when Tanna was first colonised by Papua New Guinea emigrants. They rise every morning with the sun and end their days at sunset with a kava ceremony. They live in houses made of materials gathered from the jungle, and hunt for food using bows and arrows. This way of life was once challenged by the modern values of civilisation, and many locals were imprisoned as a result of their rebellion against the clothes, money, and schools that western society brought to them. However, those wrongs have since been righted, and the customs of the people of Tanna are respected despite their close proximity to the expanding world around them. This world is shown most extraordinarily in Tanna, a new film from Australian directors Martin Butler and Bentley Dean that marks the first ever Australian–Vanuatu production. Apart from minor scenes of the marooned romance of The Blue Lagoon in 1980, Tanna marks the first time a major motion picture has been made in Vanuatu. And certainly the first of its kind to feature Vanuatu performers and languages. The two young directors lived with the Yakel for seven months, writing and filming their movie while embracing the culture. They exchanged traditions, shared stories and songs, learned the local language, and their children played together.

88 Paradise – Air Niugini’s in-flight magazine

Paradise: the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini, March/April 2016  

The March/April 2016 Issue (Vol 2, 2016) of 'Paradise' magazine, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini, the national airline of Papua New Gu...

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