Since the Cannes Market title They Are Us
was announced late last week with Rose Byrne
poised to play Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
, there has been an outcry among many New Zealanders who believe a still-raw tragedy would be exploited by Hollywood storytellers. Criticisms include inferring that the 2019 attack on the Muslim community in Christchurch that cost 51 innocent lives would turn into a “white savior” narrative focusing on Ardern, who banned assault weapons from the country after the tragedy. Tens of thousands have signed petitions, putting on their heels filmmakers who want to tell the story of a country’s reaction to a massacre. Critics also have ignored the fact that the film’s director, Andrew Niccol
, is a New Zealand native.
Tonight, a joint statement was issued to New Zealand press by Muslim Association of Canterbury (Al Noor Mosque) and They Are Us
producer Ayman Jamal
, laying out a