Filmmakers will need to abandon the trope if they want funding.
Filmmakers who want to receive funding from the British Film Institute (BFI) will have to abandon an old trope, as the BFI will no longer fund movies featuring villains with scars, reports the Telegraph.
The move comes as the BFI backs Changing Faces’ #IAmNotYourVillain charitable campaign. The BFI is reportedly the first organization to support the project and is doing so in an effort to destigmatize facial disfigurements.
“Film is a catalyst for change,” said BFI Deputy CEO Ben Roberts, “and that is why we are committing to not having negative representations depicted through scars or facial difference in the films we fund.”
The BFI has also chosen to give funding to the forthcoming drama Dirty God. The film is about a woman who rebuilds her life after suffering an acid attack and stars real-life burns survivor Vicky Knight.
“This campaign speaks directly to the criteria in the BFI diversity standards, which call for meaningful representations on screen,” continued Roberts. We fully support Changing Faces’ #IAmNotYourVillain campaign, and urge the rest of the film industry to do the same.”
The BFI’s decision comes as part of a recently announced diversity commitment to hit a seven percent target for disabled filmmakers.
“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,” said Changing Faces CEO Becky Hewitt, who called it “particularly worrying” that children tend to only make this association after being exposed to certain films.
Films have been using scars as visual cues that a character is a bad person for decades. Some of the most notable ones include Heath Ledger’s Joker and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren.
Nick Santangelo is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. He loves video games and sports, but not sports video games. Follow him on Twitter.