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Synopsis: Frank Duffy desperately searches for his wife who has relapsed on heroin and disappeared. As Frank’s obsession drives him closer to the edge, he is forced to confront his own demons or die with hers. Set in the drug-infested badlands of Philadelphia, “Hungry Ghosts” shines a light on the city’s opioid crisis while exploring a family torn apart by addiction.



Run Time

18 minutes


Karen Giordano (Selena)
Aprella Godfrey Barule (Mina)
Melisa O'Donnell (Clarita)
Gabriel Moran (Richie)
David McKittrick (Frank)

Produced by

Marisa Vitali

Executive Producer

David McKittrick

Edited by

Daniel Hendricks Simon


Vadim Aynbinder

Director's Statement

Throughout my career I’ve always been inspired to write about addiction and mental illness and its deteriorating effects on humankind. I find it most rewarding to use my art to express the suffering and potential healing through various avenues of recovery. I found the ancient Tibetan myth of the “Hungry Ghost” to be a perfect metaphor for a disease that’s affected so many, including myself. I suffered from addiction for many years until I dealt with the very ghosts and attachments that had been eating me alive. The Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia seemed the perfect setting for the film, especially since it’s been utterly devastated by the opioid crisis. The number of addicts and fatalities ranks highest in the country, the statistics are staggering. Being a native of Kensington, I’m hoping that the film will show a unique perspective on addiction and recovery while raising awareness for a community torn apart by the epidemic.

Director's Bio

Mark Borkowski is an award-winning writer, director, and actor of film and theatre. His directing has been hailed by the LA Times as “Fireworks and Poetry”. He wrote the award-winning feature “The Perfect Witness” (w/ Wes Bentley) which premiered at the Sitges Film Festival and won the Fantasia Award at the Portugal Film Festival and was picked up by SHOWTIME. Also an award-winning playwright, his work has been published and produced around the world. Some recent NYC productions include “Hold” and “Dead Monkey” at The Collective NY, “The Head Hunter” at the Abington Theatre, “The Godling” at Theatre Camden UK, “The Daughters of Eve” at The Cherry Lane. As an actor, Mark has portrayed memorable characters such as Ted Barnes on Netflix’s “House of Cards”, Paul Sagorsky on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and most recently HBO’s “When They See Us”. He won Best Actor for “The Ungodly” (2007) in 2008 at Fantasporto Film Fest in Portugal and Best Actor for “Cucina” (2019) at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival. Mark is a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio and the Co-Founder of Urban Angels.

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