11th September 2015
While the red carpet of the Venice Film Festival is used to being graced by the likes of Johnny Depp, George Clooney and Hollywood's most famous names, some unlikely stars have then their place on the red carpet this year. Their first time on the red carpet, in fact their first time on any carpet at all, the group of 'stars' are part of the Yakel people and are also the cast of the new feature film Tanna.
Part of one of the last traditional tribes in the South Pacific, the Yakel people and their life on Tanna remain practically unchanged for thousands of years. A cashless society which supports itself, up until two years ago the Yakel tribe had never even seen a movie. Now they star in one. Having never left their jungle village before, Dain, Selin, Wawa and Lingai have been flown to Sydney ahead of their debut at the Venice Film Festival.
An Australian film shot in Vanuatu by co-directors Martin Butler and Bentley Dean, the film features a local cast which required film crews to live amongst the village and participate in daily life, only allowing time for filming at the chief's discretion. Having previously worked together on a couple of ABC projects on Aboriginal history, Butler and Deal made Tanna over 14 months, immersed in traditional village life.
An adaptation of the common law and belief systems of the Yakel people, Tanna examines the 'kastom' of arranged marriage and its effects. A tragic love story, Tanna follows the plight of two lovers torn apart by true love and arranged marriage. In a sort of Romeo and Juliet tale, a bloody land dispute with a neighbouring village sees the bride promised to another man as part of a peace deal.
While this unique and supremely authentic film is set to make waves at the Venice Film Festival, you can arrange your own marriage in Vanuatu, albeit with a far happier ending. Vanuatu weddings are actually very popular with Australians, and it really should come as no surprise. The romance of the tropics is the perfect place to commit to your true love. Getting married in Vanuatu is actually a fairly simple process and there are a fantastic range of wedding packages available to make the whole process a breeze.