A ghost story, a digital pirate, and a Kiwi house of horrors are all coming to New Zealand screens thanks to this year's NZ International Film Festival.

NZIFF has revealed the first eight films of the 2017 programme which will screen from July 20, including three New Zealand-made documentaries and four international feature films starring the likes of Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Sienna Miller and Robert Pattinson.

Here's what's coming and why you should go and see them:

Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web:

Courtesy of Monsoon Pictures International

What it is:


Annie Goldson's documentary examines the battle between Kim Dotcom, the US Government and the entertainment industry.

Why you should watch it: The Kim Dotcom story is kind of inherently fascinating. If you're into it, this is for you, if you're not, this might be the documentary to change that.


Warning - content may disturb. YouTube / Madman Films

What it is:

A weird and wonderful look behind the scenes of one of NZ's biggest horror theme parks, Spookers.

Why you should watch it: If you ever wanted to know what it's like to be the one dishing out the scares rather than the one peeing your pants and crying in a corner, this one's for you.

A Ghost Story

What it is:

Casey Affleck plays a ghost who can't let go of the woman he loved, haunting the house they shared and being forced to watch her live on without him.

Why you should watch it: Somehow, Casey Affleck manages to make a classic Halloween ghost costume work to create a mesmerising character and a haunting (excuse the pun) performance.

Lady Macbeth

What it is:

Forget Shakespeare's Macbeth, this film - based on Nikolai Leskov's novella - sees Lady Macbeth go from nervous bride to femme fatale in a dark, sexy British period drama

Why you should watch it: It's been lauded by critics who gave it 5-star reviews and praised it as "a brilliantly chilling subversion of a classic".

The Lost City of Z

What it is:

Charlie Hunnam plays British explorer, Percy Fawcett, following the true story of Fawcett's quest to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon and his disappearance in 1925, along with his son, while on an expedition.

Why you should watch it: Exploration action, history, and star power - this film also stars Sienna Miller and Robert Pattinson - what more could you want?

Bill Frisell: A Portrait

What it is:

This documentary strikes the perfect balance of talking heads and performance, as we explore the world of jazz guitarist Bill Frisell.

Why you should watch it: People like Nels Cline, Paul Simon and Bonnie Raitt all gather to pay tribute to Frisell, plus there's a bunch of performance footage for your enjoyment.

My Year with Helen

What it is:

A year in the life of Helen Clark and her journey to become the United Nations' first female Secretary-General.

Why you should watch it: It's a chance to get some insight on former Prime Minister Helen Clark on the world stage and outside of all the ridiculous caricatures and shallow sniping.

The Untamed

What it is:

A love triangle takes on a weird twist in this Mexican mash-up of sci-fi, body horror and social commentary which takes pointed jabs at chauvinism and homophobia.

Why you should watch it: Anything taglined as: "Love triangle drama and erotic bio-sci-fi horror" is a must-watch.

The full NZIFF programme will be available from June 27 for Auckland and June 30 for Wellington.

NZIFF starts in Auckland on July 20 and in Wellington on July 28.