Unseen footage surfaces of Amelia Earhart before she vanished

Film could be the last surviving footage of flying pioneer

Film, Photos Taken Just Before Amelia Earhart's Final Flight Surface

It was a clear spring day in 1937 when Amelia Earhart, ready to make history by flying around the world, brought her personal photographer to document the journey's beginning.

Al Bresnik took dozens of still photos, including a few that have likely been seen by millions. His brother John, who tagged along, made a very dark, grainy three minute home movie almost nobody saw - until now.

The film, 'Amelia Earhart's Last Photo Shoot,' is being released this month by The Paragon Agency publishing house, along with an 80-page book of the same name that documents a journey that ended tragically short of the finish line when Earhart's plane vanished somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

Paragon publisher Doug Westfall said he eventually plans to donate the fragile original given to him by John Bresnik's son to an archive or museum.

The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, Earhart was one of the most famous celebrities of her time.

This appears to be the final film heralding her departure from California on the first leg on what would be her final flight.

Earhart and her co-pilot Fred Noonan were about two-thirds through their journey when they left New Guinea on July 2 for Howell Island, a tiny speck of land in the Pacific, midway between Australia and Hawaii.

In one of her last radio transmissions, she said she thought they were near but couldn't see the island and were low on fuel. The exact whereabouts of her plane has remained a mystery ever since.

The film looks authentic, according to Richard Gillespie, executive director of a team that has hunted for Earhart's remains and wreck for decades, the International Group For Historic Aircraft Recovery (Tigher).

Tigher, however, disputes the dating of the film, saying that the lack of repair plating on the plane proves the film was taken in March, before Earhart's abortive first flight rather than in May before her second flight.

Tigher recently claimed to have found evidence of a wreckage on the tiny, uninhabited Pacific atoll of Nikumaroro.