To mark the 40th anniversary of the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ On Screen brings us the stories behind some of our most notable local films.

Peter Jackson's fourth feature saw him step away from splatter and move into Academy Awards territory.

Born of his partner Fran Walsh's long-held fascination with the 1954 Parker-Hulme murder case, Heavenly Creatures earned the pair Oscar nominations, and made stars out of Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet.

The film received widespread acclaim, with Time magazine and 30 other publications naming it one of 1994's 10 best films.

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Here Lynskey reveals how skipping school nearly cost her the role of Pauline Parker.

You can watch the US trailer for Heavenly Creatures here: