Island of the Hungry Ghosts is a feature length documentary film set on the remote Christmas Island.

Poh Lin is a trauma counsellor living on the remote Christmas Island with her young family. Poh Lin’s job is to work with people trying to seek asylum to Australia who have been detained in a high security detention facility, deep within the islands jungle.

The island is one of the last discovered places on earth, with humans having migrated to its shores less than a century ago. The original inhabitants are the forty million land crabs. Pulled by the force of the full moon they begin their epic odyssey from the island’s jungle to its rugged coastline.  

As Poh Lin and her family explore the island’s powerful and threatening landscape, a disquieting sensation grows. Local islanders carry out their ‘hungry ghost’ rituals for the spirits of those who died on the island without a proper burial. They make offerings to appease the lost souls, who are said to be wandering the jungles at night without a home.

In the intimacy of her therapy sessions, Poh Lin feels the oncoming dystopia, as the mental state of her clients begin to unravel.


Director & Writer: Gabrielle Brady

Cinematographer: Michael Latham

Sound Designer: Leo Dolgan

Composer: Aaron Cupples

Editor: Katharina Fiedler

Narrative practice consultant: Poh Lin Lee

First AD: Zena Kells

Script Consultant: Lillah Halla & Francoise Von Roy

Producers: Alex Wadouh, Samm Haillay, Alex Kelly, Gizem Acarla, Gabrielle Brady

Co-Producer: Julie Niethammer

Produced by: Chromosom film Germany, Third film UK, echotango Australia, Various films

Field Producer: Dani Yannoulis

Website design: Miranda Grant

Color grade: Aline Biz

Post Production house: Moonlight Barcelona

Supported by: British Film Institute (UK), WDR (Cologne), Film- und Medienstiftung NRW (Cologne), MBB (Berlin), Bertha Foundation and Screen Territory (Australia)


Island of the Hungry Ghosts had its World Premiere in Documentary Competition at Tribeca Film Festival, NYC.

The European Premiere took place at Visions du Reel in Nyon, Switzerland in the Compétition Internationale Longs Métrages.

Island of the Hungry Ghosts was awarded the Prix Buyens-Chagoll at Visions du Reel, April 20th 2018.

Island of the Hungry Ghosts was awarded Best Documentary at Tribeca 2018. The best documentary award goes to a film that demonstrates extraordinary mastery of the full symphonic range of cinematic tools: cinematography, editing, score, sound design and, perhaps greatest of all, an exquisite use of metaphor. To a film that moved us deeply, impressed us immensely and made us feel we were witnessing nothing less than the emergence, fully formed, of a major new cinematic talent, we are thrilled to award the best documentary award to Island of the Hungry Ghosts. – Tribeca Jury