Local aspiring filmmaker, Maddie Benson (25) has today been scolded by Screen Australia for making a film that doesn’t include at last eight character chain smoke cigarettes.

While her new film, Country Town, appears to tick all the other boxes, such as having a ten minute scene based around a 50-something woman hanging clothes on a hills-hoist in the scorching heat, and a homoerotic working class male antagonist – Maddie has not met her quota with smokers.

“It’s my own doing” says Maddie.

“I had plenty of opportunities to have make characters smoke”

“In hindsight I could have made the autistic twin brothers, who are led into a life of crime by their dodgy stepfather, smoke cigarettes”

“I also could have made the Aboriginal neighbour, who’s also a cop, smoke heaps too”

While Screen Australia say they aren’t going to make Maddie pay back the funding, like they did with Red Dog, she has also been reprimanded for not finishing the film with a suicide.

“I finished the film on a light note. Apparently that’s a big no-no” she said.

“I should have known, the people that made Red Dog got in so much shit for it”

While Maddie says the current industry backlash to her upbeat low-smoke movie won’t deter her from her dreams of one day making a movie about a gay kid at private school.

“If anything it’s a learning curve.” she said.

“I guess I’ll just have to work with Lachy Hulme on a few mini-series biopics of Australian TV stars before I get back into making movies.



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