BANGKOK, Thailand – Some survivors of the 2004 South Asian tsunami say an upcoming television miniseries will do little more than open fresh wounds from the disaster.
"Why are they doing this? We can't believe it," tour guide Sawitree Kulmat told The Nation newspaper. "It's too early ... What about the people who lost their families?"
HBO and British Broadcasting Corp. say their "Tsunami" miniseries is a compelling story of courage. Filming started last month in Phuket and Khao Lak — the Thai areas hit hardest by the waves that killed more than 216,000 people in 12 countries.
The BBC said the film, to air on HBO and BBC2 later this year, would look beyond the disaster toward issues arising from its aftermath, and noted that local governments are supportive of the project.
"We are fully conscious of the sensitivities of survivors and the imperative to handle the issue with compassion and insight," the BBC said in a statement.
Scores of Asian artists have used the disaster to inspire works, including short films and a Thai comic book, and the Thai Culture Ministry organized an art exhibit last year in Phuket, a popular tourist resort.
But some survivors said the miniseries goes too far and were particularly angered by advertisements seeking people to work as extras, including corpses.
"Some of the flyers had pictures of the tsunami," said Robert Reynolds, director of a charity supporting children affected by the tsunami. "On the bottom, it said victims needed. It was pretty tasteless."
Among the characters depicted in "Tsunami" are a young couple who lost their child, an Englishwoman whose husband and son are missing, an ambitious reporter, a relief worker and an overwhelmed British official.
The cast includes Oscar-nominated actors Tim Roth, Sophie Okonedo and Toni Collette, HBO said.