A documentary focusing on the 1930s encounter between three brothers, the gold prospectors Michael, Dan and James Leahy, and inhabitants of the remote Western Highlands of New Guinea. The reaction of both groups to a mutually alien culture, and the complex aftermath, is captured in original 1930s footage shot by Michael Leahy, and in interviews from fifty years later.

First Contact was nominated for an Academy Award and won 10 international awards, including the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Documentary (1983) and the Grand Prix at Festival Cinéma du Réel in Paris (1983). It is part one of the celebrated Highlands Trilogy by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson (parts two and three – Joe Leahy’s Neighbours, 1989, and Black Harvest, 1993 – will screen later in the program).

AUS | 1983 | 58 mins