After receiving widespread criticism, the producer of a film on the Christchurch terror attacks in New Zealand has withdrawn from the project.
Philippa Campbell apologized for her role in the film, saying she had no idea how much pain it would bring.
They Are Us, the planned film, is set to concentrate on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s participation in the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch.
The shooting was the worst terrorist incident in New Zealand’s history, with 51 people murdered.
“I have listened to the concerns raised over recent days and I have heard the strength of people’s views,” Ms. Campbell said.
“I now agree that the events of 15 March 2019 are too raw for the film at this time and do not wish to be involved with a project that is causing such distress.”
Her departure does not rule out the possibility of US-backed film production.
Ms. Ardern slammed the initiative on Monday, saying it was badly timed and focused on the wrong issue.
“In my view, which is a personal view, it feels very soon and very raw for New Zealand,” she told local media TVNZ.
“And while there are so many stories that should be told at some point, I don’t consider mine to be one of them.
Ms. Ardern had received significant acclaim at the moment for her thoughtful and compassionate handling of the situation. The film’s proposed title is based on a speech she gave shortly after the attack.
Members of New Zealand’s Muslim community have also criticized the film for focusing on Ms. Ardern rather than the victims, accusing it of pursuing a “white savior” narrative.
The National Islamic Youth Association has amassed over 60,000 signatures on a petition calling for the film to be canceled, claiming that it will the victims and survivors and instead centers the response of a white woman”.
The Muslim community had apparently not been adequately consulted about the project, according to the report.
The mayor of Christchurch, where the assaults occurred, has said that film crews would not be allowed to film in her city.
“I’m just so outraged that they even think that this is an appropriate thing to do,” Lianne Dalziel told news outlet RNZ.
Rose Byrne, an Australian actress, will play the center-left leader in the film. Despite requests for her to abandon the production, the actress has yet to answer.
Brenton Tarrant, an Australian self-declared white supremacist, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, making him the first person in the country’s history to receive such a punishment.
He opened fire on worshipers inside the Al Noor mosque on March 15, streaming the incident live on Facebook using a headcam he was wearing.
He then drove to the Linwood Islamic Centre, where he opened fire on bystanders on the street before shooting at the windows.
His conviction was the first in New Zealand’s history for terrorism. New Zealand’s firearms regulations were also changed as a result of the atrocity.