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 and On Demand. (UPDATE: All four episodes are now streaming at SBS On Demand)
What is it about?
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.
Who is starring in Hungry Ghosts?
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).
What is The Hungry Ghost Festival?
The Hungry Ghost Festival is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival on the 15th night of the seventh month in the lunar calendar. This year the Hungry Ghost Festival will take place on Wednesday 2 September.
During this month, the gates of hell open and ghosts are free to roam the earth where they seek food and entertainment - and sometimes revenge. Many of these ghosts are believed to have died without being given a proper ritual burial and therefore remain lost, wandering souls. To appease them, family members offer prayers and food and drink to their deceased relatives, burn fake bank notes and other forms of votive gifts. Shrines with food are also set up for ghosts without families.
How can you watch Hungry Ghosts?
Hungry Ghosts will be subtitled in Simplified Chinese, Arabic and Vietnamese and will be added to the subtitled collection at 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.
When you're done: listen to series co-writer Jeremy Nguyen talk about drawing on personal experience to bring authenticity to the story