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Entertainment

Web Desk
December 1, 2018

British Film Institute refuses to fund movies with facially scarred villains

Entertainment

Web Desk
Sat, Dec, 18

The British Film Institute (BFI) has announced that it will no longer fund movies featuring villain characters with facial scars. The organization’s decision supports the growing #IAmNotYourVillain campaign started by Changing Faces, the United Kingdom’s leading charity group for people with a visible difference such as a mark or scar.

“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,” BFI Deputy CEO Ben Roberts said in a statement. “This campaign speaks directly to the criteria in the BFI diversity standards, which call for meaningful representations on-screen. We fully support Changing Faces’ #IAmNotYourVillain campaign, and urge the rest of the film industry to do the same.”

Changing Faces was founded by Dr. James Partridge in 1992, and provides support for children and adults who have observable differences to their faces, hands, and body that cause them to suffer social stigma discrimination. The charity has argued that facial scars being used to signify that characters in movies are evil have contributed to the negative perception of real people with similar scars. The "I Am Not Your Villain" campaign was launched earlier this month, with Changing Faces and the BFI urging those in the film industry to ditch the trope of the scarred villain.

The BFI is an organization dedicated to supporting and funded British-made films, and allocates a certain amount of funding every year to movies by British filmmakers and studios. Recent BFI-funded films include zombie drama The Girl With All the Gifts, crime film Trespass Against Us, and gritty romance God's Own Country. Given the kind of films that the BFI usually funds, the decision not to support movies with scar-faced villains probably won't actually affect funding allocation much (they're usually found in Bond movies, action blockbusters and superhero films rather than low-budget dramas), but even as a symbolic gesture it has worth.