Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands and one of these islands is ‘Tanna’ – a tiny island south of the countries mainland of Efate. Here on Tanna a live volcano smoulders and there is a remote village called ‘Yakel’ where the people follow a life steeped in tradition and Vanuatu kastom.
In 2015 this traditional lifestyle and kastom was reinacted on the big screen in a feature film called Tanna. A film aptly described as being about ‘Two Tribes. One Love.’, and a modern day ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The film has been recognised by movie goers and critics from all over the world resulting in many awards. But now, the film is up for the ‘award of all awards’ – it is an Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. See, exciting!
Our link to the Tanna cast is strong and takes us back to August 2016. This was when we hosted a Resort tour for a VIP travel trade group who were visiting Vanuatu at the time for Tok Tok Vanuatu. Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu is renowned for putting on quite the event – let’s just say we don’t do things by halves and considering that these travel trade visitors influence our business so heavily, we knew we had to pull out all the stops to impress and create memories.
As part of the tour guests enjoyed unique performances along the way throughout the Resort grounds as a representation of some of the 83 islands that make up Vanuatu.
Performances included the Leweton Cultural Village that showcased its renowned ‘Magical Water Music’ created by the community from Banks Island, as well as a surprise ‘Warrior Attack’ show from the Futuna Fatuana Cultural Group. Songs from the Erakor Childrens Choir sounded throughout the Kids Club while guests watched on in awe.
A true highlight of the evening and the event that had all the Resort team giddy with excitement was the show performed by Tanna actors - Dain Mangau, Lingai Kouwia and Marceline Rofit. The actors replicated a scene from the movie in the Resorts natural amphitheatre under one of our amazing banyan trees surrounded by tiki torches and guests munching on popcorn. It was a true spectacle.
So on February 27 (Vanuatu time), we will see the Tanna actors not in any designer frocks or black tie affair, but in their traditional kastom dress walking down the red carpet at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and drawing attention like never before to our island home, Vanuatu.
We will be watching with fingers and toes crossed that Tanna is the name read from the envelope. No matter what the result we are proud of the Tanna cast and also that we were able to involved even if in just a small way. The experience and Tanna will be with us forever.
More images and the Tanna Movie trailer appear below