Moviemaker Oren Peli has fired back at aid organisation officials in the U.S. who have blasted him and his co-producers for "sensationalising" the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl for a new horror film.
Representatives of the Friends of Chernobyl Centers U.S. group - a charity which provides funds, training and medical supplies to communities severely impacted by the incident - have voiced their anger over the adaptation of the real-life disaster into Hollywood film Chernobyl Diaries, which chronicles the story of six tourists who hire a guide to take them on a trip to the abandoned town of Pripyat, the former home of workers at the plant.
A spokesperson for the aid group told Tmz.com, "It is terrible that such a tragic event as Chernobyl is being sensationalised in a Hollywood horror film. Thousands of people have died and over 400,000 people were evacuated from their homes. Today over five million people still live on contaminated land.
"The horror is not mutants running around, the real horror is the effect that Chernobyl continues to have on the lives of millions who have been devastated physically, emotionally and economically."
But Peli insists he and his fellow filmmakers are not trying to sensationalise the nuclear disaster, telling BlogTalkRadio.com, "The movie is not about the actual incident."
He also suggests his critics should see the movie for themselves before making negative comments: "Maybe they should first see it before they decide to be outraged about it. We actually are working with a different charity, The Chabad Children of Chernobyl, and they have seen the movie and didn't find it to be offensive at all.
"Because of the movie, there is raised awareness about Chernobyl, which has become the forgotten disaster; it happened long enough ago that a lot of people, especially the young generation, haven't heard of it, so this movie is seeping it back into their consciousness.
"If anyone was really concerned about what happened in Chernobyl and the dangers of nuclear disasters, they should welcome the fact that now it's becoming a topic of conversation again."