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Kiwi producer pulls out of ‘They Are Us’ movie after public backlash

Kiwi producer pulls out of ‘They Are Us’ movie after public backlash

The Auckland producer behind the proposed film about the Christchurch mosque attacks says she deeply regrets her involvement in the film. 

Kiwi producer pulls out of ‘They Are Us’ movie after public backlash

Last week it was announced a film about the Christchurch terrorist attacks on 15 March 2019 was in production. The film, titled They Are Us, which is written and directed by Kiwi filmmaker Andrew Niccol and has cast Australian actress Rose Byrne to play Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, will focus on the prime minister’s response to the attacks.

Soon after the announcement, the New Zealand public and Muslim community have voiced their outrage about the film. A petition to shut down the film by the National Islamic Youth Association (NIYA) has already gained over 60,000 signatures, and a family member of one of the victims of the attack has penned an open letter to Byrne to step down from the film.

“The film centres white voices and therefore will continue to white-wash the horrific violence perpetrated against Muslim communities,” states NIYA.

Now, the film’s producer Philippa Campbell says she will no longer be involved in the film, and that she regrets the hurt the announcement has caused.

“I have listened to the concerns raised over recent days and I have heard the strength of people’s views. I now agree that the events of March 15, 2019, are too raw for film at this time and do not wish to be involved with a project that is causing such distress,” Campbell said.

Prime Minister Ardern has also addressed the controversial film, saying that “there are plenty of stories from March 15 that could be told, but I don’t consider mine to be one of them.”

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel has also spoken up against the film, saying that any the film’s crew would not be welcome in the city.

“I’m just so outraged that they even think that this is an appropriate thing to do,” said Dalziel.

At the time of writing, neither Byrne nor Niccol have responded to the criticism.

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