Chilling, captivating and utterly compelling, Hungry Ghosts follows four families that find themselves haunted by ghosts from the past.
Filmed and set in Melbourne during the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, when the Vietnamese community venerate their dead, this four-part drama series event from Matchbox Pictures premieres over four consecutive nights, Monday 24 August – Thursday 27 August at 9:30pm on SBS.
When a tomb in Vietnam is accidentally opened on the eve of the Hungry Ghost Festival, a vengeful spirit is unleashed, bringing the dead with him. As these spirits wreak havoc across the Vietnamese-Australian community in Melbourne, reclaiming lost loves and exacting revenge, young woman May Le (Văn-Davies) must rediscover her true heritage and accept her destiny to help bring balance to a community still traumatised by war.
Hungry Ghosts reflects the extraordinary lived and spiritual stories of the Vietnamese community and explores the inherent trauma passed down from one generation to the next, and how notions of displacement impact human identity – long after the events themselves. With one of the most diverse casts featured in an Australian drama series, Hungry Ghosts comprises more than 30 Asian-Australian actors and 325 Asian-Australian extras.
The Hungry Ghosts cast features Catherine Văn-Davies (Going Down), Jillian Nguyen (The True History of the Kelly Gang), Ryan Corr (Bloom, Holding the Man), Bryan Brown (Bloom, Sweet Country), Clare Bowen (Nashville), Ferdinand Hoang (Rake, The Quiet American), Gabrielle Chan (The Commons), Suzy Wrong (Crownies), Gareth Yuen (LA Confidential, Party Tricks), Justine Clarke (Dead Lucky, Love My Way), Oakley Kwon (Neighbours), Lap Phan (The Quiet American), Haiha Le (Back to the Rafters), Susie Porter (Wentworth, Seven Types of Ambiguity), Gary Sweet (House Husbands, Janet King) and Hazem Shammas (Safe Harbour).
SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald said:
“Hungry Ghosts is a bold, genre-bending cinematic thriller unlike anything we’ve ever seen in Australia. It’s a suspenseful ghost story with heart, humour and scares. It continues SBS’ commitment to making diverse and thought-provoking drama, bringing a diverse cast and screen practitioners to the forefront of Australian storytelling, and providing audiences with an opportunity to discover more about our Vietnamese-Australian community. We can’t wait to share it with audiences next month.”
Catherine Văn-Davies said:
“Playing May Le was an extremely significant experience as a second-generation Vietnamese actor. When you’re second generation, you tend to exist between two worlds – particularly being mixed race. Expressing that uncertainty and the feelings of being an imposter and an outsider is not often conveyed in conventional dramas. So, to play someone coming into their power through a mystical journey was a real revelation to me. Not to mention with great jackets and an excellent best friend. I’ve loved being a part of Hungry Ghosts alongside other brilliant actors we don’t often see on our screens. Hungry Ghosts is a very human and universal story of trauma, grief, guilt and survival that spans a number of generations; it’s about connecting to our past, in the hope for our future.”
Director Shawn Seet said:
“I feel like I have been waiting my whole career for a project like Hungry Ghosts which profoundly celebrates the inclusion of Asian culture in Australia and is a showcase for the wonderful Asian talent we have here. It’s a big step towards us telling our stories.”
Directed by AACTA award-winning Shawn Seet (Deep Water) and produced by Stephen Corvini (Safe Harbour), Timothy Hobart (Wanted) and executive producers Sue Masters (The Hunting, The Family Law) and Debbie Lee (The Family Law, Barracuda). The series is written by Timothy Hobart, Michele Lee, Alan Nguyen, Jeremy Nguyen and John Ridley.
Produced by Matchbox Pictures for SBS, with major production investment from Screen Australia and financed with support from Film Victoria. International sales are being handled by NBCU International Distribution.
Hungry Ghosts will be subtitled in Simplified Chinese, Arabic and Vietnamese and will be added to the subtitled collection on SBS On Demand, available immediately following its premiere on SBS. The series will also be available with audio description for audiences who are blind or vision impaired.
Episodes will be available on SBS On Demand each day at the same time as broadcast.