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 850 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.
The majority of funding comes from ticket sales and film society memberships.
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 for Sale – 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 comingled recycling bins (provided through a partnership with Veolia) to collect its glass recyclable containers, these collect beer and soft drinks bottles as well wine bottles. However, no wine bottles (of any size) are eligible to be redeemed for the 10c refund through the CDS (see the NT EPA – List of regulated beverages and containers), nor is broken glass. Therefore all the glass containers in these bins would end up being crushed for asphalt rather than being deposited for a rebate. So the Darwin Film Society offered for these co-mingled bins to be cleared weekly by a volunteer with the 10c rebate being donated to the Environment Centre NT. Since this partnership started at the beginning of the 2015 season it has resulted in between $90-$180 per month being donated to the ECNT
- 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
- Cane Toad Busts – to reduce the presence of the introduced species Bufo marinus at the Deckchair Cinema and within the local habitat which we are surrounded by, Di Koser regularly hosts cane toad busts after screenings during our season
- 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. Thursday nights are made exclusively available to these groups, and they also provide the catering on those evenings so they take the profits from food sales, and any other promotions they coordinate on the night.