Ghosts of Abu Ghraib

Director: Rory Kennedy
Screenwriters: Jack Youngelson

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


Wielding startlingly candid interviews with perpetrators, witnesses, and victims, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib provides an inside look at the abuses that occurred at the Iraqi prison in the fall of 2003. Award-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy explores how, given the right circumstances, typical boys and girls next door can commit atrocious acts of violence.

Kennedy begins tracing the path to Abu Ghraib with 9/11. Facing a whole new war on terror, the Bush administration justified intelligence gathering at any cost. The administration's decision to ignore the rules of the Geneva Conventions laid the groundwork for the abuse. The result? Heinous acts of torture heretofore associated only with the world's most repressive dictatorships.

The now-infamous photos that emerged from Abu Ghraib represent only the tip of the iceberg, pointing to systemic abuse from Guantanamo Bay to Afghanistan and beyond. These photos have come to redefine the United States—once considered a bastion of human rights—as a principal proponent of torture. Have we blurred the distinction between ourselves and terrorists in ways that will haunt our country throughout history? Powerful, restrained, and fiercely compelling, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib demands that we examine our conscience as a nation.

— David Courier

Screening Details


As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]