Jacinda Ardern has said a proposed film exploring the reaction to deadly killings at two mosques in Christchurch two years ago shouldn’t not focus on her.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand said in a news conference that the Muslim community should be the centre of the movie because she doesn’t consider her response “to be one of the stories that needs to be told”.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote last week that Kiwi writer-director Andrew Niccol (The Truman Show) would helm the project called They Are Us, which is described as an “inspirational story” about Ardern’s moving response to the violence.
Although the film would broach the attacks by Brenton Tarrant, a white supremacist gunman who killed 51 people on March 15, 2019 at two mosques in Christchurch, its main thrust is said to be more about Ardern’s compassionate response that was praised globally.
The Prime Minister’s office said last week that she and the government had no involvement with the film.
“This is very raw event for New Zealand and even more so for the community that experienced it,” Ardern said at a news conference when asked about the movie [via Reuters].
“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.
The film’s title is drawn from Ardern’s words on the day of the shootings. Rose Byrne is set to portray Ardern.
Some members of the Muslim community have questioned the plan to make a film when the event is still so raw, and why the focus is to be on Ardern.
Guled Mire, an advocate for the Muslim community, told the 1 NEWS network that he thought the film was “distasteful”. “It completely feeds into this white saviour mentality,” he said.
A lead producer on the FilmNation project has resigned from the film, per The Hollywood Reporter today (June 14).