A Newcastle couple is thousands of dollars out of pocket and without their wedding footage after a videographer shot their wedding and didn't provide the product.
Harriet and Jimmy Leayr paid more than $5000 to videographer James Connell, whose business Anchored Cinema was previously based in Shoal Bay.
Mr Connell declared bankruptcy on October 30, leaving a long list of newlywed couples as creditors and a debt of more than $300,000. A Facebook group for Anchored Cinema clients who have not received their videos has amassed 195 members.Mr Connell did not respond to requests for comment.
Harriet and Jimmy were married in the Hunter Valley in December 2022 before celebrating with friends and families at a reception in Newcastle.
They sourced a photographer whose business also does videography, but they were unavailable to shoot video on the date.
"He said that he would try and help me find a videographer, because it was such short notice," Ms Leayr said.
"He was at a wedding a week prior and he was working with this guy who was available so I got his contact details."
Harriet and Jimmy booked a $4800 package, which included a cinematographer, multiple 4K cameras and audio kits, coverage from ceremony to the end of formalities and drone footage.
"So we had one 30 to 60 second video called 'the teaser' and then one four-to-five minute creative short film and three separate edits, so ceremony, speeches and first dance and it would be delivered online," Ms Leayr said.
With excitement to watch the footage, Ms Leayr paid an extra $540 to get the teaser video quicker.
"It was supposed to be the next day," she said. "And he replied literally straight away to that, sent me the invoice, I paid it and we didn't hear for him for five weeks and we didn't get the video for seven weeks."
The new bride didn't think too much of the delay, until she posted the teaser video on Instagram.
"Every time you sent them a message you would get an automated message back saying that they were busy filming and they'd get back to you, so I was like well they're obviously busy," she said.
"But I posted it on Instagram and tagged them. A lady messaged me because she'd seen that we tagged them in the video and she'd asked when our wedding was because we got married in December, but they got married a year before and they hadn't received anything back.
"And she said 'do you know what they're like? Look at their Instagram, look at all their comments'.
"The comments all said 'these people are scammers' and that was my first thought of 'oh shit. What have we got into'."
Ms Leayr emailed the business again and told them she had seen the comments and received a message, so asked for reassurance that she would receive her videos.
"They basically just said 'you'll get it, be patient, it's coming'," she said.
Mr Connell's girlfriend then took over replying to emails.
"She was really good, she would reply back. But again, it was all just empty promises. She even said that our video was going to be ready in a week and that was in May.
"After that I didn't receive any further emails and I still haven't had any other contact with them."
The next contact Ms Leayr received was an email about a week ago saying Mr Connell had declared bankruptcy.
The Australian Financial Security Authority is acting as the trustee, assessing the situation and working to get money back to the creditors.
But Ms Leayr said she did not care so much about the money, she just wanted the footage.
"It's just annoying," she said. "You can't replace that footage.
"I don't care about an edited film, just give us the raw footage because we can't get that back.
"I don't care if it's 1000 different videos and they're all 30 seconds long. Whatever. I don't care.
"My nan came from the UK and that may be the last footage I'll ever have of her.
"I don't understand why he can't upload the videos. It's probably a lengthy process but why was he still taking on clients when he was knee deep with other clients?"
The contact email for Anchored Cinema has been switched off and emails bounce back. The business website and social media pages have also been shut down.
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