Nick Broomfield steps out of his role as documentary-maker to create a gripping drama inspired by the shocking tragedy of the Chinese cockle-pickers who drowned in Morecambe Bay in February 2004, caught by the rising tide on a freezing winter's night.
The film traces the story of Ai Qin, a young woman who borrows $25,000 to pay a gang to smuggle her into the UK so she can support her son and family back home. Once in the UK, she becomes just another one of three million migrant workers preparing food for British consumers, paid well below the minimum wage. Life is a relentless grind: sharing a two-bedroom house with 15 others, Ai Qin and her housemates strive to keep their spirits high with warm camaraderie.
In a desperate attempt to repay her debts, Ai Qin joins a group who set out cockling in Morecambe Bay at night - with disastrous consequences. The lead character, Ai Qin, is played by a Chinese former illegal immigrant and the story is based on her experiences.
Ghosts is by turns unsettling, thought-provoking, touching, and uplifting, showing how human warmth endures even in the darkest circumstances. Ghosts portrays a shocking reality which exists almost invisibly within our economy, and within our neighbourhoods.