Key Points:

A film that first screened almost 40 years ago has won critical acclaim and awards in New York .

The remastered edition of This is New Zealand, shot by Wellington filmmaker Hugh Macdonald for Expo 70 in Japan in 1970, won a bronze medal in the New York Festivals Film and Video Competition.

In 1970, a unique set-up was needed to show the movie -- three side-by-side projectors, with synchronising motors and sound equipment.

The film could only be shown at one theatre at a time, owing to the tonnes of film equipment that had to be set up in each theatre.

Made during his time at the National Film Unit, it was never intended for a New Zealand audience, Macdonald said.

However, when it was shown, This is New Zealand attracted "queues that ran around the block. It was quite phenomenal", he said.

"It was 45 minutes long. People used to come in, pay their 20 cents to see the movie, then go around to the back of the queue and wait to watch it again.

The film's soundtrack featured Siberlius, who consequently became "New Zealand's most popular composer", Macdonald said.

The film also featured four original songs by Geoff Murphy and Bruno Lawrence.

Now, after 30 years in storage, the film will again be available to New Zealand viewers.

Macdonald led the Archives New Zealand project to revisit and update the film.

At Peter Jackson's Park Road Post production facility in Wellington, he scanned the negatives, cleaned them up and corrected the colour grading.

Long-time associate and soundman Kit Rollings remixed the soundtrack.

The whole thing was put onto a single roll of film, using technology that wasn't available then.

Later this month, a New Zealand premier of the remastered film will screen at Park Road Post.

Another of Macdonald's films, the more recent Musacus, also made the finals in the New York awards. It was an instructional film about a new musical system, using colour-coding instead of notation, Macdonald said.

Macdonald produced the 1986 animated short film The Frog, The Dog and The Devil, directed and animated by Bob Stenhouse.

The film received a nomination for an Academy Award.

"I am probably approaching 40 international awards -- that averages one a year. This year, I'm up to two, and it's only February," Macdonald said.