Island of the Hungry Ghosts

Samm Haillay

    Research output: Other contribution


    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.

    2018 Best Documentary Tribeca Film Festival
    2018 Prix Buyens-Chagoll – Visions Du Reel - Nyon
    2018 Best Documentary Valletta Film Festival
    2018 Special mention of the Jury Edinburgh International Film Festival
    2018 Best Documentary Feature Capricornia Film Awards Darwin International Film Festival
    2018 Best Documentary Crested Butte Film Festival – Colorado
    2018 Jury Prize Festival des Libertes – Brussels
    2018 Grand Jury Prize for International Competition – Mumbai International Film Festival
    2018 Amsterdam Human Rights Award - IDFA
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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