A young man and his mother, an older woman sit on a couch in their home laughing. The young man wears a shirt that says: I speak fluent movie quotes.


We are extremely excited that our short documentary film, Return Chute: The survival of a small town video store, has been selected for the 2024 Sydfest Independent Film Festival.

SydFest is an annual festival celebrating independent Australian and international short films of all genres and is dedicated to supporting and recognising indie filmmakers from all over the world.

The festival showcases the best new short films that have excellence in storytelling and promise informative, fascinating and riveting entertainment.

We are honoured to be part of this year’s festival and congratulate all the other filmmakers selected.

Return Chute (2023) is a short documentary about Rod O’Hara and Bellingen Video Connection, a video store struggling to stay open in the age of global streaming and on-demand video platforms. Despite many business and personal setbacks, Rod and his loyal customers kept this invaluable and iconic store alive for lovers of the screen arts and the small, close-knit Bellingen community. 

The documentary was filmed in late 2022 and premiered at the Screenwave International Film Festival in April 2023. In February 2024, Rod sold Bellingen Video Connection to a couple of longtime customers. We are thrilled that the store will continue as The Dark Room with a new look and an expanded offering to keep showcasing the screen arts, music, photography, and other art forms.

Return Chute is directed and produced by Simone Atallah, with cinematography and editing by Mick Jones and sound mixing by Ryan Burrows.