Film stars South Pacific tribal actors who had never seen a movie before

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Vanuatu tribal members Lingai Kowia (left) and Marceline "Seline" Rofit of the film "Tanna" are interviewed in a visit to the ABC7 studio in Glendale.

The film "Tanna" is named for the South Pacific island where the story takes place.

It's the first film ever shot in the archipelago country of Vanuatu, north of New Zealand. It was made by members of a tribe who had never seen a movie - much less made one - before meeting the filmmakers.

An Australian filmmaker showed the tribe a movie and they immediately agree to make their own, based on a true story from their village's recent past about a forbidden love between two members of different tribes.

A scene from the film "Tanna."

Another first for tribal members: Flying to Los Angeles to do interviews promoting the film.

"We are the same except that you are white, I am black but we are brothers," said Lingai Kowia, one of the film's co-stars, speaking through an interpreter. "And I'm glad that my world is shown to you in the film so you can learn what is good from my world."

Marceline "Seline" Rofit, an 11-year-old in the film, shared some observations about our world. "Here in your world, I've seen people sleeping on the streets, and I've seen people eating scraps from the dust bins and have seen some with guns. But please, can we stop them? Have equal sharing of wealth and use our lips instead of with weapons to keep peace."

The filmmakers hope to see "Tanna" up for "best foreign language film" at next year's Oscars.
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