South Sea Islander brings heritage to Rockhampton cinemas
ROBBIE Mann has been looking for a way to share the rich heritage of his people with the local community - and it appears he may have found it.
The third-generation South Sea Islander man recently came back from Vanuatu where he was moved by the cultural meaning behind locally filmed movie, Tanna, and felt the need to bring it to audiences closer to home.
Robbie, who is part of the Australian South Sea Islander community in Rockhampton, wanted to bring the movie to the cinemas so people could come together to watch and learn.
Robbie said his ancestors were a part of the blackbirding which meant his family, who were originally from Vanuatu, were brought to Australia essentially as slave labourers.
"My family history is a big part of why I want to share the movie," he said.
"My father's family came from Gaua Island and Ambae Island and my mother's family came from West Ambrym Island."
Robbie said he wanted the wider community to see the history of Vanuatu because a lot of people holidayed there.
"I think the movie will give people a greater understanding of culture and traditions. Not only will it teach the wider community but it will teach South Sea Islanders as well, I even learnt a lot about my heritage," he said.
"The movie was filmed in Tanna and it has received great awards and has developed a positive response and had a great impact on those who have seen it."
Robbie said he heard about the movie Tanna, but knew it wasn't available for showing in Rockhampton so he took steps to have it shown at the local cinemas.
"I contacted TUGG, a cinema on demand platform, to see if I could bring the film to Rocky but I have to sell a minimum of 69 tickets for the showing to go ahead," he said.
"We are going pretty well because we have sold 43 tickets so far and we have 19 more days to go."
Robbie said there had been an event created on Facebook and word had spread about the screening of the movie.
"It will be at the local cinemas on December 21 at 6.30pm if we sell enough tickets," he said.
"If the movie was to be shown it would mean our local South Sea Islander community would be connecting to the wider community.
"We wouldn't be there for a cause or a reason but we would just be there to simply watch a movie, enjoy each other's company and learn together."
What is blackbirding
Blackbirding was a slavery practice
South Pacific Islanders were kidnapped to work on cotton and sugar plantations in Queensland
It was a 19th and early 20th Century practice
Slaves could be bought and sold
Visit https://tugg.com.au/tanna/ to purchase tickets to Tanna