Words by Michael McAtomney

Australian Filmmaker, Gabrielle Brady, is a standout when it comes to groundbreaking story-telling. Her journey to tell stunning tales through extraordinary documentary cinema has taken her to Europe, Mongolia, Indonesia, Cuba and Mexico, to name but a few.

Brady’s latest film, The Island of the Hungry Ghosts, recently premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Alongside taking home the award for Best Documentary at Tribeca, the documentary won the Buyens-Chagoll Award at Visions du Réel 2018, and the Best Documentary Film award at the Valletta Film Festival Malta.

The film follows the trials and tribulations of life on Australia’s remote territory of Christmas Island, traditionally a holding center for immigrants who arrive by boat seeking asylum on the Australian mainland, and home to the world’s largest annual Red Crab migration. Brady skillfully juxtaposes the difficulties faced by the crabs throughout their migration with the life of Poh Lin Lee, a trauma therapist who talks each day with the asylum seekers being held indefinitely in the high-security detention centre.

Following the film premiere at Tribeca Film Festival, we sat down with Gabrielle for the second installment of our Directors series to get her advice on all things documentary — from the unusual art of hybrid film, to the subtle art of listening.