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Starry Seaside Cinema

The cinema is a magical place. The smell of fresh popcorn drifts by as we ponder what’s to come, settling in for some escapism as we’re immersed in the stories of others. There’s one cinema that shines extra bright up here in the Top End.

By Tierney Seccull

AFTER BEING CLOSED for the West season, the iconic Deckchair Cinema throws open the gates this month, ready for another huge year of fab flicks on the big screen. Making the Deckie so beloved is the outdoor seaside setting, the relaxed atmosphere, the friendly team, and the sense of nostalgia – even for newly made memories.

General Manager James Parker says they’ve got something very special planned for the opening night event, with a screening of WINHANGANHA, a debut film from award-winning poet and artist Jazz Money.

“It’s a project from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, where they had … an artist come and look at the records of Indigenous people and Indigenous filmmakers in the Australian archives. It’s about that legacy, and the story it tells,” he says.

“Jazz Money is a poet and an artist, renowned in their field, but this is their first film. They’re trained as a filmmaker … and this film is a very powerful piece of work. They’re joining us for opening night at the Deckchair, which is followed by a Q&A afterwards hosted by MAGNT Curator of Aboriginal Art and Material Culture, Rebecca Raymond.”

Adding to a very special evening of film and storytelling is a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country from local Larrakia People. Packer says it’s the first of a series of special events to be rolled out throughout the year.

“The Darwin International Film Festival returns in September, and we are now open for submissions, so if you’re a filmmaker or have a short film, please submit your film on the DIFF website – we’re always looking for Northern Territory and Australian content,” he says.

“We have had a lot of requests from the community to program the Palestinian Film Festival, which has been played everywhere except Darwin. The cinema, by its constitution, is apolitical – we don’t take a political stance – but we’re interested in different cultures around the world and we’re very happy to screen films that give us insight into the world of Palestinians.”

Add to the mix regular film festivals, including the French Film Festival next month, a series of fundraiser screenings for local not-for-profit groups, and regular Café Cinema discussions, 2024 is looking bright for the Deckie.

And if history is anything to go by, opening night is likely to sell out, so Packer encourages you to get onto those hot tix if you don’t want to miss out.

“It will be a beautiful night, with a very touching film and a powerful Q&A, so I really recommend people come down – it’s a good cultural experience to have at the cinema.”

Opening Night at Deckchair Cinema | WINHANGANHA
COST $19 | $15 CONC | $10 MEMB $44 FAM | $10 CHILD

Photo: Tourism NT

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