By GUY D’ASTOLFO
A trailer for an upcoming movie made in Youngstown that sparked outrage in Norway has been removed from YouTube.com by the filmmaker.
However, a copy of the trailer posted by Anton Pictures, the film’s production company, remains on the website, as do unauthorized copies.
The 70-second teaser for “Utoya Island” was first posted in late September and eventually received more than 254,000 views.
“Utoya Island” re-enacts the July mass murder of 69 children in Norway by a politically motivated gunman. The very low-budget movie, directed by Vitaliy Versace of Los Angeles and Cleveland, was filmed last month, mainly in the Lake Glacier area of Mill Creek MetroParks.
Versace’s agent in Los Angeles had received complaints and threats from Norway and other countries about the trailer and the film. Grieving citizens of that country called the movie project insensitive and too soon.
Versace said police in Norway asked him to take down the trailer. He initially refused but changed his mind Monday, and pulled it later that night.
Casting director Linda Weaver, of Lemodeln Model and Talent Agency in Boardman, said she discussed the trailer with Versace on Monday afternoon. The decision to remove it from YouTube.com was out of compassion for the Norwegian people and concern for the mass-murder victims and their families, she said.
“Utoya Island” is in the editing phase. It is scheduled to be released sometime in 2012, but Versace said if a distributor acquires the film, it could be released at its discretion.
The YouTube trailer depicted Anders Behring Breivik, the confessed killer, dressed in police gear shooting at fleeing, screaming children with a high-powered rifle.
Versace said the purpose of the film is to demonstrate the need for gun control laws.