Lightyear Entertainment dist. by eOne
Lightyear Entertainment dist. by eOne

Lightyear Entertainment ( has released the multiple award-winning film “Tanna,” directed by Bentley Dean and Martin Butler, on cable VOD and digital platforms (to own or rent); and on Blu-ray and DVD through Momentum Pictures/Sony Home Entertainment.

A Fall 2016 theatrical release in 30 U.S. markets and an audience favorite in film festivals across the country, “Tanna”  was Australia’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category, and made the final cut of 5 nominees.

Boasting an 82% Rotten Tomatoes critics rating and 94% Audience Score, “Tanna” is set on a remote island in the South Pacific, and follows a young girl who falls in love with her chief’s grandson. But when war with their enemies escalates, Wawa is unknowingly betrothed as part of a peace deal. The young lovers run away, but are pursued by warriors of both tribes. With their lives on the line, the star-crossed lovers must choose between their hearts and the peaceful future of the tribe.

“Tanna” is based on a true story – an event that occurred in 1987 in one of the world’s last tribal societies. The people of Yakel, on the island of Tanna, are fully aware of the outside world, but have chosen to live according to the ways of their ancestors, after resisting the colonial powers that used to control the area, the missionaries that tried to assimilate them to a Western way of life, and finally the lure of money. The film was crafted in full collaboration with the islanders, and is the first feature film to be shot entirely in the nation of Vanuatu, which is an archipelago of 83 islands and an estimated 110 different languages. The island of Tanna is dominated by an active volcano, which plays an important part in the film, as well as the tribe’s culture.

None of the cast had ever acted before. They still hunt with bows and arrows and make their clothes and houses entirely from materials gathered in the surrounding jungle. Before “Tanna,” they had never before seen a movie. The film was shot on a single Canon camera, with its batteries charged each night by a single solar panel. There is no CGI in the film, and it was shot with no artificial lighting.

“It has been an honor and privilege to bring ‘Tanna’ to American audiences,” said Lightyear CEO Arnie Holland. “Everyone that saw the film in the theaters loved it, and the Q&A sessions that we did with the filmmakers and cast members in Los Angeles and New York were truly memorable. The people of Tanna may well be the happiest people in the world, as well as some of the nicest. During their visit here for the launch of the film they made clear to me that ‘Tanna’ is very much the tribe’s film as much or more than the filmmakers.”

“Tanna'” won two major prizes at the 2015 Venice Film Festival: the Audience Award and Best Cinematography Award. It went on to win Best Director from the Australian Director’s Guild in 2016 and was nominated in five categories (including Best Picture, Best Cinematography and Best Director) at the 2016 AACTA awards, the Australian equivalent of the Academy Awards, where it won the prize for Best Original Music Score.

The cast of “Tanna” includes Mungau Dain, Marie Wawa, Marceline Rofit, Chief Charlie Kahla and Lingai Kowia. The directors are Bentley Dean and Martin Butler. The screenwriters are Bentley Dean, Martin Butler and John Collee, in collaboration with the people of Yakel. The Cultural Director is Joseph Jimmy (JJ) Nako. The producers are Martin Butler, Bentley Dean and Carolyn Johnson. The director of photography is Bentley Dean.

USA audiences can now look for the film on cable VOD and digital platforms (to own or rent); as well as on Blu-ray and DVD through Momentum Pictures/Sony Home Entertainment.

The trailer follows below: