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.
The DFS opened the Deckchair Cinema in 1994 and screens films from April until November each year, in the iconic outdoor setting. The Deckchair cinema is fully independent and this allows the Darwin Film Society to screen a diverse range of films. The film program screens a unique mix of Australian, family, foreign, popular and classic films – as many as 60% of the films are not screened anywhere else in Darwin. The DFS was instrumental in bringing Sydney’s Travelling Film Festival to Australia’s far north, and presented a wide range of classic films from around the world; as well as a high proportion of Australian films when they were rarely seen in mainstream cinemas.

As well as running the Deckchair Cinema, the Darwin Film Society helps community groups and other charitable organisations screen films for fundraising and organise special events at the Deckchair Cinema. The Darwin Film Society also supports local filmmakers where ever possible.
The Darwin Film Society also operates the Darwin International Film Festival, or DIFF (with support from Screen Territory, Screen Australia and FestivalsNT), and Flix in the Wet, an eclectic program of films screening on Sunday afternoons from late January to late March.
Deckchair Cinema is self sustaining, with no core funding. We are supported by ticket sales and film society memberships.

Who We Are

Jeff Coulter - Chair

I joined the DFS Committeein May 2010, and became Chair in January 2016. 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.

Di Koser

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.

Felicity Watt

I have been coming to the Deckchair Cinema since arriving in Darwin in 1999, and joined the DFS Management Committee in 2019.
As a committee member I feel lucky to be able to contribute to such a great organisation - I love the diversity of films shown there, and the fabulous sense of community surrounding the Cinema. And as for that spectacular location...

Liz Keith

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.

Phil Hickey

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

• Australian made, ethical and organic - in response to attempts to overrule the Territory’s Container Deposit Scheme in 2013, the DFS decided to stock organic, ethical and Australian made beverages where ever possible
• Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) – Deckchair Cinema uses co-mingled recycling bins provided by the Down Syndrome Association NT to collect containers that accrue the 10c refund. The money raised helps the Downs Syndrome Association with their operations.
• Biodegradable containers and utensils – our nightly food vendors, including the fundraising groups, are required to use biodegradable containers and utensils or those made from renewable sources rather than plastic containers
• Community Group Fundraisers – the DFS makes the Deckchair Cinema available for hire to local non-for-profit, community, sporting and school groups at cost, whereby all the proceeds from ticket sales goes directly to these community groups. Sunday nights are made exclusively available to these groups and they also provide the catering on those evenings. They take the profits from food sales and any other promotions they coordinate on the night.


DFS Important Documents

DFS Constitution 2008

AGM Agenda 2024

AGM Minutes 2023

AGM Nomination Form

AGM Proxy Form

DFS Audited Financials 2023

Annual Committee Report 2020
Annual Committee Report 2019
Annual Committee Report 2018
Annual Committee Report 2017
Annual Committee Report 2016
Annual Committee Report 2015
Annual Committee Report 2014
Annual Committee Report 2013