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The BFI will no longer fund movies featuring villains with facial scars

Along with menacing laughs, dastardly mustaches and plans for world domination, facial scars/disfigurements have often been an attribute of movie villains for about as long as movies have been around. There’s THE DARK KNIGHT’s The Joker; Le Chiffre, Blofeld and Silva from the Bond movies and; Vader, Kylo Ren and Dryden Vos from the Star Wars movies, etc. Hell, LION KING’s baddie has a facial scar and is even named Scar. But now the British Film Institute is making efforts to reverse the stigma, and have announced they will no longer fund movies that feature villains with facial scars.

The Telegraph is reporting that the BFI is standing with the #IAmNotYourVillain campaign from the Changing Face charity and is meant to better represent people with facial disfigurements in films and TV by ensuring they have more positive roles. For example, the BFI has recently funded a new movie, DIRTY GOD, a new movie about a woman in South London recovering from an acid attack, which stars Vicky Knight, who is herself a burn survivor.

“Film is a catalyst for change and that is why we are committing to not having negative representations depicted through scars or facial difference in the films we fund,” said Ben Roberts, the BFI’s deputy CEO.

Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (2006)

Becky Hewitt, chief executive for Changing Faces, was thrilled with the support from BFI, saying it’s a step in the right direction for proper representation.

“The film industry has such power to influence the public with its representation of diversity, and yet films use scars and looking different as a shorthand for villainy far too often. It’s particularly worrying to see that children don’t tend to make this association until they are exposed to films that influence their attitudes towards disfigurement in a profoundly negative way,”

Now, this doesn't mean movies are longer allowed to have villains with any facial scars, but rather that as an organization, the BFI is making their own call to not fund movies that do. They have the right to do that, and filmmakers have the right to take their movies elsewhere should they feel they must. Movies have the power to influence our perceptions of things and people - good or bad - and if an organization wants to reverse a negative stigma portrayed in movies, then more power to them. 

Source: The Telegraph

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