Rabat – Egyptian author and filmmaker Moez Masoud has announced that he in the process of completing a film based on the horrific massacre which took place in Christchurch, New Zealand.
On April 15, a 28-year old white supremacist gunned down dozens of Muslims at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic center in Christchurch, killing 51 and gravely wounding dozen others.
According to Variety, the in-progress movie will be called, “Hello Brother.” The title is based “upon the words of one of the victims of the gunman,” in reference to the welcome words of 71-year old victim, Hati Mohammed Daoud Nabi, as he welcomed the 28-year old gunman into the Al Noor Mosque, where 42 were killed.
While basing its narrative on a monstrous public attack, “Hello Brother” sets out to put a special emphasis on the positive attitudes and the mutual understanding needed for peacefully coexisting despite differences, according to Masoud. Variety indicated that “the film will follow a family facing death and destruction in Afghanistan who escape with their lives.”
For the Egyptian author, academic, and filmmaker, the whole point is to refuse to surrender to the hatred and spite-filled path terrorists like the Christchurch gunman are trying to impose on our imaginations and politico-religious sensibilities.
“In Christchurch, on March 15, the world witnessed an unspeakable crime against humanity,” Masoud told Variety. “The story that ‘Hello Brother’ will bring to audiences is just one step in the healing process, so that we might all better understand each other, and the root causes of hatred, racism, supremacy and terrorism.”
Massoud, a polymath currently affiliated with the Islamic Studies department at the University of Cambridge in England, is not new to the cinematic arena.
His 2016 movie, “Clash,” won plaudits for its riveting retelling of the Egyptian Arab spring that deposed Hosni Mubarak. The movie went on to be the opening film of the Cannes Festival’s “Un Certain Regard” section.
Masoud explained that his overarching objective in his new project is to “bring people all over the world together to discuss that day and continue a positive dialogue for a future based on genuine mutual understanding.”
For all of Masoud’s demonstrably well-meaning explanation of the rationale behind his choice to produce a cinematic retelling of the Christchurch story, the news of a movie about Christchurch has not been well received in some circles.
Actress Rima Te Wiata slammed the move, saying that it is “bad taste” and “inappropriate” to rush to make a film about an incident still fresh in the memory of families and survivors.
“It would be the height of bad taste to see people win acting awards for a dramatization of this real-life mass murder,” Te Wiata said.