Plans for Hollywood movie centered on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's response to data link the terrorist attacks on the Christchurch Mosque have sparked frustration and disgust in New Zealand, with accusations according to which ones Muslim victims have been sidelined.
The film will star Australian actress Rose Byrne as Ardern, according to the Hollywood Reporter , and is called They Are Us - a line derived from one of Ardern 's speeches at the time. It will be directed by New Zealand filmmaker Andrew Niccol and produced by FilmNation.
Some New Zealanders on Friday criticized the decision to tell the story of Ardern's leadership in the context of the mass murder of 51 Muslims by a white supremacist as "exploitative", "callous" and "obscene".
Ardern has distanced himself from the film and issued a statementvia a spokesperson saying that "the prime minister and the government have no involvement in the film ".
Writer and advocate for the Guled Mire community said the premise of the film was "completely unresponsive". He said that while the filmmakers may have consulted with some members of the Muslim community, many had no idea of the news. "It hit us all out of the blue," he said. "Many victims themselves have not even heard of this.
He said the film 's apparent focus on Ardern was silent on the experience of Muslims who survived the attack. “The reality is that many victims are in trouble right now. They're really still trying to pick up the pieces - financially, everything, ”he said. "This exploited this vulnerability to make the most of the situation.
Many people injured and bereaved by the attacks face ongoing financial stress, permanent physical problems and mental trauma, and called for a better response from the government.
Mire said: "No one wants to see the fact that the victims themselves and their families and witnesses are not able to receive mental health support that they rightly deserve. No one wants to talk about the lack of financial compensation for government failures. No official has been held responsible for this. "
The Guardian has contacted production company FilmNation Entertainment and Niccol 's agency for comment .
Hollywood Reporter has stated that the film "will tell how Ardern wonie New Zealand following the terrorist attacks on two mosques in 2019 with a message of compassion and unity, and helped push through the ban on assault rifles ”. They also report that the was "developed in consultation with several members of the affected mosques ".
New Zealand writer Mohamed Hassan criticized the authors of the film for having hijacked the attacks. in a " story of the white savior ". He added, “The pain is still fresh and real. It is heartbreaking, obscene and grotesque. "
Aya Al-Umari, whose brother Hussein was murdered in the attack, said that 'he was callous, tweeting the classic kiwifruit "Yeah no ". "I don't think this movie will be well received in New Zealand. I guess it ' s Hollywood that is overeatingread this, ”she told Australian Associated. Press.
Others have expressed their anger on Twitter. Local producer Ahmed Osman said many survivors and families of the victims "were still living [a] nightmare" and had not received sufficient support. The film amounted to "the glorification of the most tragic and traumatic thing that has ever happened to them," he said. “While we're at it, why don't we do [a] film about the failings of the police and the SIS [Security Intelligence Service]. The surveillance of innocent Muslims and our community, the constant harassment and racial profiling we face. "
The film's intended title, They Are Us, is taken from a quote by Ardern the day after the attacks: “They chose to doof New Zealand their home, and this is their home. They are us. The person who perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand. "
" They Are Us is not so much about attack as it is about responding to it. 'attack ... how an unprecedented act of hate was overwhelmed by a wave of love and support, "Niccol told the Hollywood reporter. "The film is about our common humanity " he said.
Ardern 's quote became a widespread solidarity motto after the attacks. But the line itself has been criticized for having "other" New Zealand Muslim community and whitewashing the persistent racism issues .