Producer Philippa Campbell has resigned from the film 'They Are Us' after receiving backlash for its 'white saviour' narrative.
'They Are Us' was announced as an "inspirational story about the young leader's response to the tragic events". The premise of the film was the actions of the New Zealand government under the leadership of Jacinda Ardern after the Christchurch terrorist attack in which 51 Muslims died.
A petition to shut down the film received 60,000 signatures in three days. Many in New Zealand called the move 'exploitative', 'insensitive', and 'obscene'. Several influential New Zealanders, activists, and victims criticised the insensitivity behind making a film on the terrorist attack.
New Zealander Philippa Campbell on Monday said that she has listened to the concerns raised after the announcement of the film and agreed that the events of March 15, 2019, are too raw to be adapted into a film at this time. She added that she does not wish to be involved in a project causing such distress.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she was not an appropriate focus for a film. She added that there are many other stories that are worth telling from March 15, the day of the Mosque attack. She also said that the film feels "very soon and very raw" for New Zealand.
The film is slated to be written and directed by New Zealander Andrew Niccol. He hasn't commented on the ongoing backlash yet. Australian actress Rose Byrne is slated to play Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.