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They Are Us movie on hold as director apologises for 'pain caused'

The controversial film, They Are Us, has been put on hold as its director apologises for "pain caused to the families of the victims".

Source: 1 NEWS

In a statement today, New Zealand writer and director Andrew Niccol explained production is paused "until full consultation with New Zealand's Muslim community has taken place".

"I am deeply saddened by the pain caused to families of the victims due to the wrongful distribution of our draft script for They Are Us," he said.

"The script was far from final and never intended to be shared with the affected members of the Muslim community at such an early stage."

Niccol went on to say the "sole purpose of the script, which was released without permission, was to gauge interest of potential financiers.

"It was given to them in the strictest confidence and all were informed that this was not intended to be the final version. All scenes in the script are placeholders until we have completed further consultation with the families.

Islamic youth group asks Muslim association to reconsider working with They Are Us filmmakers

"Our hope for this film, conceived by producer Ayman Jamal, which will take years to complete is that it will honour the survivors and the lives lost.

"It will serve as a testament to the acts of heroism and sacrifice that took place on that tragic day," Niccol said.

He said it "is also our intention to show the world how a nation can respond to such tragedy. New Zealand's embrace of its Muslim community is a testament to the strength of human solidarity and compassion".

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The prime minister told Breakfast she does not consider the attacks her story, it is the community and families. Source: Breakfast

"From its inception, we wanted to tell the story of how an unprecedented act of hatred was overwhelmed by an outpouring of love.

"We are committed to ensuring that the voices of the affected Muslim community and the voices of the wider community will be heard before moving forward."

New Zealand Muslim Association president Ikhlaq Kashkari told 1 NEWS he doesn’t buy the apology, saying “I don’t believe it".

“They are trying to do a PR spin and sell their story. It’s too raw be a pleasant experience for the community. I don’t think New Zealanders will have an appetite for it.

“They should not be making a movie out of it - it’s a tragedy and it’s too raw. The victims are the ones who need to be considered - for them its more painful,” he said.

“For someone to make money of it what is it going to possibly trigger another incident…it’s glorifying that horrible act that took place.

“We can’t be sure it’ll never happen again…it might trigger other incidents.”

A member of the Muslim community who wanted to remain anonymous said despite the apology from Niccol, he thinks the film “should not be screened, it should be scrapped altogether’.

“Most of the Muslim community feel it’s crossing a boundary,” he said.