Film festival organisers are waiting for an investigative documentary to be legally cleared in Australia before it can screen at the Doc Edge Film Festival early next month.

The Opposition by Sydney-based director Hollie Fifer - about a "David-and-Goliath battle" over land in Papua New Guinea - has been served with an injunction by former PNG politician Dame Carol Kidu, who wants her role in the film removed.

The 77-minute-long documentary follows Joe Moses as he tries to save his Paga Hill community in Port Moresby from being evicted off their land and replaced by an international five-star hotel and marina development.

Moses is shown battling it out in the courts as he attempts to stop the land being developed by the Paga Hill Development Company.


Dame Carol plays an important role in the film, which is due to screen as part of the Doc Edge International Film Festival in Wellington on May 9 and May 14 and Auckland on May 20 and May 22.

But she says she has been misrepresented and wants herself excluded.

Doc Edge organisers told the Herald they are waiting for the film - one of 52 selected for the festival - to be given the all clear before they screen it.

Dan Shanan, executive director of Doc Edge, said they are watching what is happening closely and that he thinks they will know the outcome later this week.

"I think on Thursday they're having a hearing."

The Australian production company behind The Opposition, Media Stockade, released a statement saying Dame Carol's injunction aims to stop them from screening and distributing any visual or audio recording of her.

"To allow time for the court to conduct an interim hearing of the injunction application, Media Stockade has agreed not to screen or distribute any visual or audio recording of Dame Carol Kidu until midnight 4 April 2016."

Shanan said the film-makers and production company are "quite optimistic" things will go their way at the hearing, and Doc Edge hopes they do.

"[But ] it is up to them, obviously they need to supply us with the film to screen it. We are not going to screen something that they haven't agreed to, or [if] there is a legal issue with it. So only when we get the clearance from them and the film from them, then we'll go ahead with the screening."

He said while he didn't exactly expect this to happen, after watching the film, he can see why it has.

Shanan said within the film you can see Dame Carol change her position, and so he is not totally surprised by her objections.

At one point she is with the people who are being affected and evicted, Shanan said, and then later she is with the developers.

The Opposition Trailer - 3rd April 2016 from Media Stockade on Vimeo.

Dame Carol has told The Australian newspaper that the film seriously misrepresents her role in the PNG property fight and claims that it secured her role, and funding from the Australian Government, under false pretences.

She told the newspaper that she agreed in 2012 to work with Hollie Fifer as a favour to Fifer's mother and that it was meant to be a university project about Dame Carol's final months in parliament.

But this focus later changed, Dame Carol said, to the property eviction story in Port Moresby.

Dame Carol was born in Australia and during her political career spent time as the only female Member of Parliament and Opposition Leader in PNG.

She claims there were "wild scenes" caught on camera in which she accuses a police officer of heavy-handed tactics and that these scenes - now central to the film - were taken out of context.

The Australian said Dame Carol had pleaded to be removed from the film as it was not what she had agreed to and that it had left her "embarrassed and distressed".

The dispute is now before the New South Wales Supreme Court.

"I just feel very sad about the whole thing," Dame Carol told the newspaper. "Every time I think about it, I end up in tears."

The film has also been selected to screen at the Hot Docs film Festival in Toronto, Canada - North America's largest documentary film festival.

It received funding from Screen Australia and Screen New South Wales.

The Opposition is not the first Australasian documentary to be served with legal papers in recent times.

Former Newsworthy co-host David Farrier has been served with a lawsuit in relation to his documentary about competitive tickling.

Tickled premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and was soon picked up by both HBO and Magnolia for the North American market.

But the run of good fortune for the documentary hit a few bumps when Farrier was served with a lawsuit from David D'Amato.

D'Amato is suing Farrier and his film-making partner Dylan Reeve for defamation, saying the movie falsely accuses him of "abusing minors, paedophilia, child pornography and abuse of his students while employed by a school", celebrity gossip site Page Six reported.

D'Amato, a former school assistant principal and guidance counsellor, said the claims are false and he was not dismissed from his job for inappropriate behaviour.

Doc Edge's Dan Shanan said documentaries are, from time to time, the target of legal action.

"These things can happen. I think as long as the film-makers and the production companies are following the procedures as best they can - which I know in this case [The Opposition] they have - then there's no reason to be alarmed or concerned."

Tickled will screen as part of the Autumn Event run by the New Zealand International Film Festival at Auckland's Civic this Wednesday, the opening night, with Farrier and Reeve in attendance.