A petition set up following yesterday’s announcement of a film based on the Christchurch mosque attacks has gained over 10,000 signatures in 24 hours.
They Are Us, set to star Australian actress Rose Byrne as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, will focus on the aftermath of the terrorist attack that killed 51 people in 2019.
Kiwi director and writer Andrew Niccol is believed to be spearheading the project.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will focus on how Ardern rallied the county with a message of compassion and unity.
However, the film has copped significant criticism since the announcement with the National Islamic Youth Association urging for it to be scrapped all together.
The association started the petition yesterday, stating the movie “sidelines the victims and survivors and instead centres the response of a white woman".
The organisation is called on the New Zealand film industry to stand up against the project, suggesting they create barriers to prevent it from going ahead.
“Say no to them using your locations, say no to hiring gear, say no to being talent, no to being crew,” the association said in the petition.
The National Islamic Youth Association states the local Muslim community wasn’t properly consulted before the film began development, stating many victims of the attack had no idea about the film.
Co-chair of the association, Sondos Qur’aan says those directly impacted by the terrorist attack should be thoroughly consulted and kept at the heart of all projects linked to it.
“Any film that seeks to represent the experiences of such an attack requires the direct and constant consultation of the Muslim community and must be done through an exercise that isn’t represented in a tokenistic manner,” he said.
“[The] They Are Us movie is insensitive and would only serve to invalidate the experiences of survivors and victims of the attack and cannot be supported by our organisation.”