The unsettling doco-drama Kate Plays Christine, which has been screening as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival, has left film audiences reeling.

The award-winning movies recreates the shocking on-air death of Florida newsreader Christine Chubbuck, who held a gun to her head on live television and pulled the trigger.

The struggles Chubbuck was facing and her motivations in the lead up to the 1974 shooting have remained a mystery, influencing two movies this year, Kate Plays Christine and the biopic Christine. Local general release dates for either film have not yet been announced.

Perhaps one of the biggest questions surrounding Chubbuck's death is about the existence of video footage showing her final shocking moment. The entertainment news site Vulture has confirmed the video is in existence.

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There are conflicting reports about what exactly went to air the moment the young broadcaster pulled the trigger. Newspapers at the time describe Chubbuck slumping forward, striking her head on the desk and falling to the floor before cameras cut to black. It's also claimed that an operator in the control room dumped the footage before it aired and instead cut to black before viewers could see Chubbuck open fire.

It's also reported police gave Chubbuck's family the only copy of the tape and they destroyed it.

As new interest in Chubbuck's story surged following the release of the two films earlier this year, so did curiosity about the footage.

Kate Lyn Sheil in character in the documentary 'Kate Plays Christine'.
Kate Lyn Sheil in character in the documentary 'Kate Plays Christine'.

Vulture

reports they had reached out to Mollie Nelson, the widow of the owner of the news station Chubbuck worked for, earlier this year but got no response. But this week, she returned their call and confirmed she had a copy of the video. She told the outlet her husband Robert Nelson had kept a copy of the footage, but he never told her why.

In Kate Plays Christine it's suggested Nelson had a copy. That's when people began contacting Mrs. Nelson.

She told Vulture she never intended to make the footage available, only keeping it at the request of her husband, and has since given it to a "very large law firm" for security.

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