Amelia Earhart
Earhart stands in front of her bi-plane called "Friendship" in 1928Getty

Just as a new mission gets underway to locate the final resting place of American adventure pilot Amelia Earhart comes news that her last-ever film has surfaced.

The film, to be released this month nearly 80 years after Earhart vanished in a flight over the Pacific Ocean, shows Earhart posing for her final photo shoot with her twin-engine Lockheed Electra in California. She vanished a short time later as she and navigator Fred Noonan attempted to circle the globe.

The three-minute film was likely shot by John Bresnik, brother of Al Bresnik, the photographer who took some of Earhart's most famous photos. It was discovered by John Bresnik's son after his father's death in 1992 in a box labeled "Amelia Earhart, Burbank Airport, 1937," reports the Associated Press.

The film has been authenticated by experts, but it's unclear whether it was shot in March or May of 1937. Earhart disappeared in July. The film is being released this month by the Paragon Agency Publishing house to accompany the new book Amelia Earhart's Last Photo Shoot.

A popular theory is that Earhart survived the crash of her plane and lived for a time on the Pacific Island of Nikumaroro. A 14-person crew from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) recently set out on a $500,000 expedition to the island. They'll spend two weeks seeking evidence that Earhart crash-landed and lived there, and will attempt to determine if there were enough edible plants there for her to survive. The team will focus on eight sites where potentially man-made objects were spotted on 1938 aerial photos.

In 1991 a patch of metal was discovered on the island and identified with a high level of certainty to be a distinctive part of Earhart's plane. TIGHAR believes a broken jar of freckle-cream from the 1930s found on the island also belonged to Earhart.

Following his own study of Earhart's route and disappearance, and his claim of eyewitness accounts, US high school teacher Dick Spint of Washington is convinced the pilot went down on Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands, not Nikumaroro.

Associated Press