Set on a remote Pacific island, covered in rain forest and dominated by an active volcano, this heartfelt story, enacted by the Yakel tribe, tells of a sister's loyalty, a forbidden love affair and the pact between the old ways and the new.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Mungau Dain ... Dain
Marie Wawa ... Wawa
Marceline Rofit ... Selin
Charlie Kahla ... Chief Charlie
Albi Nangia Albi Nangia ... Grandfather and Shaman
Lingai Kowia ... Father
Dadwa Mungau Dadwa Mungau ... Grandmother
Linette Yowayin Linette Yowayin ... Mother
Kapan Cook Kapan Cook ... Kapan Cook
Mungau Yokay Mungau Yokay ... Peacemaking Chief
Mikum Tainakou ... Imedin Chief
Charlie Kahla Junior Charlie Kahla Junior ... Yakel Tribe
Nakou Pia Nakou Pia ... Yakel Tribe
Chifan Benata Chifan Benata ... Yakel Tribe
George Nayun George Nayun ... Yakel Tribe


Set on a remote Pacific island, covered in rain forest and dominated by an active volcano, this heartfelt story, enacted by the Yakel tribe, tells of a sister's loyalty, a forbidden love affair and the pact between the old ways and the new.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Two tribes. One love.


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The first ever Australian-made film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. See more »


Chief Charlie: Wisdom comes through suffering, killing only brings sorrow. One side struggles for power, the other takes revenge. Divided children of Tanna, join together in peace. Go back to our beginnings, hear the wisdom of the ancestors and live once more in harmony.
See more »


Featured in The Oscars (2017) See more »

User Reviews

Beautiful and visceral cinema. Degree of difficulty = 9 out of 10
5 October 2016 | by david-rector-85092See all my reviews

'Tanna' is what cinema is all about. Storytelling using the visual medium to illuminate and transport the viewer into another world. Collaborators Bentley Dean and Martin Butler have long histories in journalism and magazine current affairs and have achieved success with their documentaries, but this is their first feature film. They have intrepidly ventured into the picturesque locale of the Vanuatu island of Tanna and its indigenous folk for this tale of star crossed lovers.

Whilst using an age old narrative theme, the conflict at the centre of 'Tanna' is whether to go with your heart or your head (here represented by tradition and tribal custom), the filmmakers have beautifully photographed and captured the daily life and tribulations of this somewhat cloistered population. Plucked from the very villages they were born and raised in, the performances are really fine; having been well cast to handle the daunting task of acting in a movie. Of particular note for me was the wonderful Marcelline Rofit as the younger sibling of the betrothed lead, played by Marie Wawa. Her eyes taking in everything around her and affected by the changes are really fascinating to observe through her perspective. Mungau Dain plays the forbidden object of desire for Wawa, and according to the filmmakers he was chosen for the leading role as he was the most handsome in his tribe. He has a perfect mix of sensitivity and strapping masculinity. The two leads work very well together. 'Tanna' makes filmmaking look easy, but the degree of difficulty cannot be underestimated here. With a remote location, a cast that had never seen a movie, let alone acted in one; the cultural respect and fascination of Dean & Butler is evident in their sensitive and at times majestic portrayal of the peoples of Tanna. Bentley Dean's evocative cinematography and Antony Partos' effective score add to the atmospheric feel of the look and sound of the film. There is some tart dialogue that injects some needed humour and humanity into what might have been a conventional story. For me, seeing filmmakers explore unchartered terrain; both cinematically and culturally engenders more enthusiasm for contemporary film. There are plenty of formulaic directors and writers perpetuating the same notions of mores and perspectives, so it is refreshing to spend a couple of hours with other peoples and other customs. And it is a most affecting and enriching experience.

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Official Sites:

Watch options


Australia | Vanuatu



Release Date:

23 September 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tanna See more »

Filming Locations:

Tanna, Vanuatu See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,711, 18 September 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Contact Films See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (5.1)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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