Australia, Vanuatu, 2015, 104’
directed by: Bentley Dean and Martin Butler
written by: Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, John Collee
cast: Mungau Dain, Marie Wawa, Marceline Rofit, Chief Charlie Kahla, Albi Nangia, Lingai Kowia, Dadwa Mungau, Linette Yowayin, Kapan Cook, Chief Mikum Tainakou
cinematography: Bentley Dean
edited by: Tania Michel Nehme
producers: Martin Butler, Bentley Dean, Carolyn Johnson
production: Contact Films
Venice FF 2015 – International Film Critics' Week – Audience Award for Best Film, FEDEORA Award for Best Cinematography; BFI London FF 2015
In 2013, documentary filmmakers Bentley Dean and Martin Butler spent seven months on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu archipelago. There they stayed with the indigenous population of the village of Yakel. One day, members of the tribe sang a moving song about young lovers who, twenty years earlier, stood up against the ancient law about arranged marriages, changing the island rules forever. Dean and Butler immortalized the story on the big screen, with a huge help from the locals. Although it was their first encounter with filmmaking, they not only acted in the film, but they also took part in the story development. The result was a unique and visually luxurious blend of two totally different cultures.
Bentley Dean is the author of a number of award-winning powerful social documentaries. Martin Butler studied politics and economics at Oxford University. In 1981 he moved to Australia, producing award-winning documentary reports. In 2009, they teamed up to make Contact – a film about the last desert peoples’ first-contact with modern Australia, as well as the documentary series First Footprints about Australia’s 50,000 years of Aboriginal history.