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The country's biggest annual celebration of cinema, the New Zealand International Film Festival, will be screening the acclaimed music documentary Marley.

The 2012 festival, which starts in Auckland on July 19 and in Wellington a week later, won't have its final programme finalised until next month.

But organisers say Marley, which debuted at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, is confirmed to screen.

So too are comedy Your Sister's Sister which is directed by Humpday director Lynn Shelton and starring Emily Blunt, and Crazy Horse by documentary veteran Frederick Wiseman who goes behind the scenes of the legendary Parisian cabaret club of the title.


But given the reggae legend's enduring place and influence (especially in New Zealand) Marley is sure to attract big numbers.

The film is directed by Oscar-winning Scottish director Kevin Macdonald. Though he wasn't first choice to make Marley. When American producer Steve Bing negotiated the music rights for a Marley film, the original idea was that Martin Scorsese would make the movie. Bing had produced and financed Scorsese's Rolling Stones doco, Shine a Light.

But Scorsese's other commitments didn't leave him enough time to complete the project, so Stop Making Sense director Jonathan Demme took over, and started researching and shooting the Marley film before stepping aside. Bing then hired Macdonald.

Macdonald took up the challenges that have defeated so many other would-be chroniclers of the legendary reggae star by trying to be as straightforward as possible, he told The Independent.

"I thought, 'I am going to make a very, very simple film'. I guess it's the most conventional film I've ever made in terms of style. It's about Bob and it's about people talking. It's oral history, I suppose.

"That was the concept: to let the complicated story be presented in the simplest way."

The full film festival programme is due out on June 27.