A producer criticized Jacinda Ardern for presenting a response to the Christchurch terrorist attack in a controversial Hollywood film after she resigned from the project after it sidelined Muslim victims.
The film promises, they are ours, also its proposed subject, has been criticized by New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern, who played the role of Rose Byrne. Ardern said on Sunday that it felt “too soon and too raw” for New Zealand, and that he did not have a suitable focus for a film about the 2019 mosque attack. “There are plenty of stories to be told from March 15, but I don’t think I want to be one of them,” he said. Ardern reiterated he has no involvement with the film.
The movie was announced by The Hollywood Reporter on Friday, and was hailed as an “inspirational story about the young leader’s reaction to the tragedy.”
Immediately came the cannon fire centered on a white woman’s leadership against the backdrop of the massacre of 51 Muslims by a white hegemon. Many Muslims criticize New Zealand as “exploitative”, “sleepy”, and “obscene”. A petition to stop the publication of the film has garnered about 60,000 signatures over the past three days.
On Monday, New Zealand producer Philipa Campbell announced that she was resigning from the proposed production. “I’ve heard the concerns raised in recent days and I’ve heard the power of people’s opinions. Now I agree that the events of March 15, 2019 are very raw for the film at this time and don’t want to be involved with a project that is causing such heartache, He said in a statement to the media.
The announcement was focused on film business, and did not take enough account of the political and human context of the story in this country. It’s the complexity of that context I’ve been reflecting on that has led me to this decision.
When the film was announced on Friday, writer and community advocate Guled Mire told the Guardian that the premise was “completely insensitive”.
“The reality is many victims are struggling right now. They’re really still trying to pick up the pieces – financially, everything,” he said. “This tapped into that vulnerability to make the most out of the situation.”
The film will be directed and written by New Zealander Andrew Niccol, who wrote and directed Gattaca. Niccol has not yet commented on the response to the film’s announcement. The Guardian has contacted the associated production companies for comment.