Chris MacDermott: Key member of Portsmouth Film Society from its early days

Chris, always known to us as ‘Chris Mac’ was a stalwart of Portsmouth Film Society in its early years. There was no purpose-built venue for the Society which was initially based at Omega Centre.

Chris had worked for the BBC and had various technical skills that helped ensure films looked and sounded as well as they could in often imperfect conditions.

A portable steel framework was used by Chris to mount the projector, so enabling the Society to move to different venues such as community centres, pubs and clubs.

Chris would transport valuable kit in his 4 by 4, keeping a watchful eye out when he was parking in the Pompey back streets, some of which he designated ‘Hyena Country’.

Portsmouth Film Society was always more than just an exhibitor. It was part of any community in which independent films particularly could be shown. It was social, and encouraged film-making among the young and disadvantaged, something Chris made a significant to. He was PFS first secretary and pop-up cinema operator

The Society was catholic in the variety of films it showed. If we ever show a film in tribute to Chris Mac, it would be good to show his favourite: Twice Around the Daffodils, a Carry On kind of film set in a sanatorium starring lovely Juliet Mills. It has big Chris’s name on it!

Rest in peace, Big Man!.

The funeral date/place:

28 January 3pm at the Portchester Crematorium.
Upper Cornaway Lane, Portchester,
Hampshire. PO16 8NE.
It’s at the south chapel.

More about our good pal Chris Mac:

He served in the Navy as Sonar operator, aboard HMS Leander.
He re-trained and became a Naval Photographer, working on the navy news he took photos of the royal family aboard the Royal Yacht and many sporting events like boxing matches. He amassed many suitcases and boxes of photographs which he kept in the loft. Which his family would love spending hours trawling through.  

Later he became a 35mm film Cameraman for Naval training videos. But changed his expertise and became a Sound recordist as he thought there would be more work to earn a good wage for his family when he left the Navy.

Being a strong sportsman Mac also participated as a member of the naval field gun crew and was featured in the Guinness book of records, when Portsmouth won the tournament and were presented a medal from the mayor of Portsmouth. He was also in the Royal Navy Rugby team and played in matches in many countries around the world inc Karachi and India.

When he left the Navy he worked on television programs for the BBC and helped record some of the audio for Aardman animation animal series, he also recorded for film and documentaries and worked on various music videos, for the likes of Jon Bon Jovi on tour in Japan, Billy Connoly on tour and several musicians including Sade and tricky from massive attack. Interestingly he was also featured in one of tricky’s music videos.

Whilst still pursuing his own photography, he turned to Buddhism and learned reiki and became a trained masseur. Helping many people who visited him for a chat.

Mac was also an avid musician, able to put his had to playing most instruments. Eternal rest grant unto him…

6 Responses

  1. Thanks for the lovely post, I’m Mac’s newphew. I was wondering if you knew which Tricky video he appears in? As I’ve never seen it and would love to if you can remember!

  2. Spent a very pleasurable few years in Hong Kong with Chris and his lovely family in the early 80s. Rest in Peace good friend you will be sadly missed by many.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *