After some individuals objected to a video depicting her reaction to the Christchurch mosque attacks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated on Monday that any video on the Christchurch mosque shootings should focus on New Zealand’s Muslim population.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, a film named “They Are Us” is in the works concerning the March 15, 2019, assault on two mosques by a white supremacist shooter, in which 51 people were slain.
The magazine described the film as an “inspirational story” about Ardern’s response to the violence.
Ardern’s office said last week she and the government had no involvement with the film. Asked about it at a news conference, she said the Muslim community should be at the centre of any film about the shootings, not her.
“This is very raw event for New Zealand and even more so for the community that experienced it,” Ardern said.
“I agree that there are stories that at some point should be told from March 15. But they are the stories from our Muslim community so they need to be at the centre of that. I don’t consider mine to be one of the stories that needs to be told,” she said.
However, she stated that it was not for her to decide whether or not a project should proceed.
The title of the film is taken from Ardern’s statements on the day of the shootings. The humane response of the 40-year-old leader brought her startled country together and was widely applauded throughout the world.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, New Zealander Andrew Niccol will write and direct the picture. It reported him as stating that it was not so much about the assaults as it was about Ardern’s handling of them.
But some Muslims questioned the plan to make a film when the pain of victims’ families, friends and the wider community was still so raw. They also questioned the plan to focus the film on the prime minister and not the victims.
Muslim community advocate Guled Mire told the 1 NEWS network that he thought the film was “distasteful”.
“It completely feeds into this white saviour mentality,” he said.
Armed with high-capacity semi-automatic weapons, Australian Brenton Tarrant killed the 51 people and injured dozens when he opened fire in the two mosques during Friday prayers in Christchurch.
Tarrant was last year sentenced to life in prison without parole.