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Year: 2007

Classification: Exempt - Ronin Recommends: G

Runtime: 54 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: Verena Thomas

Produced By: Verena Thomas

Language: English + Tok Pisin


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Father John Nilles, arrived in the highlands of Papua New Guinea in 1937 and for the next 54 years, living with the people of Chimbu, learning their language and way of life, introducing them to his God and Western culture.

Through Nilles' extraordinary archive of photos, diaries and letters as well as interviews with those who knew him, filmmaker Verena Thomas pieces together a portrait of this fascinating man – her great-uncle. What she discovers is an unexpected new family, who had made 'Papa' Nilles one of their own.

Presenting a personal perspective on 'big picture' history, Papa Bilong Chimbu offers a thought-provoking insight into the complexity of cultural exchange.

Note: Papa Bilong Chimbu is Tok Pisin for 'Father of the Chimbu'. Chimbu is now commonly spelled 'Simbu' but the older spelling is used here for consistency. The local language is known as Kuman.

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