Hollywood take on Christchurch massacre sparks anger in New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand – A planned Hollywood film about the Christchurch mosque massacre has sparked a sharp reaction in New Zealand, with Muslims condemning the director’s decision to focus not on the pain and resilience of the community, but on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s response.

Over 60,000 people have signed a petition They are demanding the closure of the film. Ms Ardern issued a statement distance from film, in which he stated that he had not been consulted. The Mayor of Christchurch said the film’s crew won’t be welcome in his city, and a New Zealand manufacturer went out of production on Monday.

Some Muslims said the film, as proposed, would take advantage of their trauma and engage in “white emancipation” by making Ms. Ardern the central character.

“It’s really sad,” said Guld Meier, a Fulbright scholar at Cornell University who is a member of New Zealand’s Muslim community. He said that he and others came to know about the film only through social media. “The grief is still very raw for so many victims, their families and the community as a whole.”

The film, which was announced on Thursday, is titled “They Are Us”, a title taken from Ms Ardern’s comments about the Muslim community after the 2019 shootings at two mosques that killed more than 50 people. It stars Australian actress Rose Byrne as a grieving Ms. Ardern.

Film director, screenwriter from New Zealand Andrew Nicholl told Deadline That “the film addresses our common humanity, so I think it will speak to people around the world.” He added, “This is an example of how we should react when our fellow human beings are attacked.”

While Ms Ardern has been praised globally for her compassionate response to the massacre, Muslims in New Zealand said the film’s focus was part of a longer pattern of marginalizing minority populations in Hollywood.

Irani-New Zealander Ghazaleh Golbakhsh said, “It was quite shocking to see that, in 2021, we’re still making the kind of films you’d probably see in Hollywood in the 1920s or ’30s, where white people would go into the desert. Huh.” Writer, academic and filmmaker. “It all harks back to this kind of colonialist and Orientalist fantasy.”

Although US news media reports suggested that the Muslim community had consulted on the film, several members said they did not know of anyone who was involved in the project.

“The issue is that the film is about Jacinda Ardern, but it is not her story,” said Adibah Khan, spokeswoman for New Zealand’s National Islamic Youth Association, which organized the petition. “This is the story of the victims and their victim community, and the truth is that they have not been consulted at all.”

Mohamed Mustafa, whose father was killed in the attacks, said he had benefited from the film project. “Someone is trying to take advantage of my aches and pains and pains – and for what benefit?” he said.

He said that white libertarianism was a false narrative. “There is no savior here, because we have 51 victims in the story,” he said. “If we had a savior, we would have no victim.”

Ms. Golbaksh likens the proposed film to “Green Book” Oscar winning film Which its opponents called a. was rejected as “Racial Reconciliation Fantasy.”

“It’s like encouraging the idea that any non-white is either too weak, or not interesting, and so pushes them into the background, not as a three-dimensional character,” she said.

a report from Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Released last week, it found that Muslims, who make up nearly a quarter of the global population, represented less than 2 percent of the speaking characters in the highest-grossing films made between 2017 and 2019. The film ends, often in a violent death.

“I sincerely hope that this project will be canceled and we will never hear about it again,” said Mr. Mustafa. “When we are ready to tell the story, we can do it one day. And that will be our story to tell.”

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