ACT Year-Round film illuminates detained asylum seekers on Christmas Island

On Oct. 10, ACT Human Rights Film Festival and The Lyric will present an exclusive screening of the award-winning documentary Island of the Hungry Ghosts 

This next installment of the ACT Year-Round series is set on Christmas Island, one of earth’s last discovered places. With a population of less than 2,000 people, Christmas Island is home to millions of land crabs that migrate from the jungle to the sea every year.  

The same jungle hides the Christmas Island Immigration Reception and Processing Centre, a high-security Australian detention center where thousands of asylum seekers have been locked away indefinitely. Their only connection to the outside world is trauma counselor Poh Lin, who relentlessly attempts to support them in a situation that is as unbearable as its outcome is uncertain.  

Migrating crabs on Christmas Island crossing paved road
Migrating crabs on Christmas Island have a prominent role in Island of the Hungry Ghosts

The film offers a nonlinear, multidimensional, and at times absurdist view of the migration and stasis happening on the island. 

“Island of the Hungry Ghosts is a uniquely crafted film about an idyllic, high-security detention paradise where moonlight, poetry, empathy, endurance, survival, and the elemental power of nature stand as offerings for those wandering the world looking for a home, says Kevin Foskin, a member of ACT’s program advisory committee and director of Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts 

This is Director Gabrielle Brady’s first feature-length production. Its world premiere was at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won best documentary. The film has gone on to win dozens of nominations and awards at film festivals throughout the world.  

Foskin notes, “Films such as these celebrate human endurance and justice, while giving voice to those unheardBut also, and importantly, films such as Island of the Hungry Ghosts celebrate the ability of film to bring to life the beauty and nobility of such astonishing struggles.”        

While ACT’s weeklong film festival occurs annually in April, ACT Year-Round brings must-see films to Fort Collins throughout the yearallowing ACT to engage with audiences and foster conversations about human rights and social justice issues more consistently. 

The Oct. 10 screening of Island of the Hungry Ghosts begins at 6:30 p.m. at The Lyric. Tickets are $10 general admission; $8 for students/seniors. A conversation on the film’s themes will follow the film screening. ACT Year-Round is presented in partnership with The Lyric. Learn more