Jane Campion is reuniting with American actress Holly Hunter in the director's first New Zealand production since both won Oscars for 1993's The Piano.
Campion's six-part mini-series Top of the Lake starts filming in Queenstown in February.
It will also feature Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss, Scottish actor Peter Mullan and Australian star David Wenham.
Moss plays a detective trying to find a missing and pregnant 12-year-old named Tui. Her investigation runs up against the girl's father and local druglord (Mullan) as well as a local women's camp guru (Hunter).
Top of the Lake is described as "a powerful and haunting mystery about the search for happiness in a paradise where honest work is hard to find".
Campion has been developing the series for some years and said it was inspired by her farm and holiday home in the Rees Valley near Glenorchy at the top of Lake Wakatipu.
It also marks Campion's return to the small screen - her 1990 An Angel at My Table biopic about the life of author Janet Frame was originally made for television but upgraded to a cinema release.
The series will be co-produced by BBC Two, UKTV in Australia and New Zealand and the Sundance Channel in the United States.