The Darwin Film Society, Deckchair Cinema
The Darwin Film Society
What We Do
Deckchair Cinema is operated by the Darwin Film Society (DFS), a not-for-profit, community-based organisation that was established in 1964 to screen a broad range of films that were not otherwise available at other Darwin cinemas. The DFS has an active and growing membership base of more than 1,500 people.
The Darwin Film Society aims to enhance the diverse cultural experiences of our community by providing unique and alternative film experience to mainstream cinema in Darwin.
Who We Are
Jeff Coulter - Chair
I have been on the DFS Committee for 8 years with the last 3 as Chair. The vitality of the people that surround the operation and the beauty of the cinema and its location make it a real pleasure to volunteer our time to ensure a successful and viable Deckchair Cinema and its other events and festivals. Darwin International Film Festival, Northern Territory Travelling Film Festival and Spark are fantastic achievements of our staff and committee all involved to benefit the NT film Industry. Our over 1000 members is the backbone that underpins all our efforts and thank them very much. Long live us.
John Schier - Deputy Chair
I have been a member of the Darwin Film Society Management Committee since 2002, and Chair for 11 of those years. I was a co-founder of the Darwin International Film Festival (DIFF), chairing the Committee from 2010 to 2013 and will again do so this year. I am an active member of many community committees, have a background in tourism operations, and am currently an account manager specialising in freight handling and logistics.
Lee Upton - Secretary
Lee works as a Senior Workplace Relations Advisor at Chamber of Commerce Northern Territory. With over 25 years’ experience in various executive management, human resources, and high level consultancy roles. Lee initially joined the committee in 2016 to offer her HR experience to the society. She has subsequently assumed the responsibility of the committee secretary.
Bret Hood - Treasurer
Bret has a background in banking and finance and has worked in a variety of businesses, including his own.
Now working with Jacana Energy managing operations project, Bret joined the Darwin Film Society Management Committee as Treasurer in 2022.
Bret’s passion is ensuring the Deckchair Cinema maintains its reputation as a fabulous place to gather, have fun and be entertained right next to harbour.
Bret does this by providing the Committee with financial guidance, managing our investments, evaluating our numbers, and managing financial risk.
Les McCrimmon - Public Officer
One of my first acts after moving to Darwin in 2010 was to join the Darwin Film Society. In 2023, I joined the DFS Committee. My love of films can be traced back to 1966 when I saw the brilliant English film, A Man for All Seasons, depicting the epic struggle between Sir Thomas More and King Henry VIII. As I left the cinema I turned to my parents and said, “Imagine a big man like Henry VIII dying in bed with the sniffles”. For those of you who know the film you’ll appreciate that it was not sniffles that ended Henry’s time on this mortal plane; a fact I was not to appreciate until a sex education class many years later. This episode leads me to conclude that it is my knowledge of the law, rather than my knowledge of cinema, that convinced my colleagues on the Committee that I may have something worthwhile to offer.
I have been a Committee member of the Darwin Film Society since the mid-80s. I was Chair for over 15 years from several years before the first Deckchair Cinema began (at Mavie St in 1994) until after the opening of the current Cinema (at Jervois Road). I love the continuing community involvement in all aspects of the Cinema – from the programming to gardening and weeding and highly skilled areas as projection and architectural design. I believe the reason the Deckchair has continued to thrive is that it truly reflects the community from which it grew.
I have been coming to the Deckchair Cinema since arriving in Darwin in 1999, and joined the DFS Management Committee in 2019.
Since going to see ‘Mary Poppins’ as a preschooler and being dragged out sobbing when told that I couldn’t stay indefinitely, I have been passionate about both movies and cinema-going. On arriving in Darwin in 2011, I immediately decided that the ‘Deckie’ was my spiritual home. I love the values and sense of community underpinning the Darwin Film Society, and the role it plays in ensuring that the citizens of our beautiful city have access to a top-notch range of cinematic experiences. I have a background in law, social work and dispute resolution, and hope to bring a range of skills – as well as undying adoration – to my role on the DFS Management Committee.
I became a Committee member of the Darwin Film Society after being a regular Deckchair patron and DFS member since the mid-90s. The Deckchair and the films it presents have been an ongoing joy in my life throughout that whole time. As a committee member, I’m really pleased to be able to offer something in return. My main interests are in maintaining and improving the Deckchair experience for members. I think the Deckchair represents the best of what’s good about Darwin.
Central to the mission and strategic goals of the Darwin Film Society (who operate the Deckchair Cinema) is being a sustainable business both socially, financially and environmentally. Below are some examples of the action we have taken to meet sustainability objectives:
• No Bottled Water - with Australia’s annual consumption of bottled water creating the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of 13,000 cars the Darwin Film Society decided to reduce our waste (and yours) by no longer selling any still bottled water from 2014 onwards. Instead patrons are invited to enjoy our Darwin fresh, filtered water for free from our kiosk