Film Institute Bans Movie Villains With Disfigured Faces

State-funded film org launches diversity commitment

Image Credits: Steve Beger / Flickr.

The British Film Institute (BFI) will no longer provide funding for movies featuring villainous characters with disfigured or scarred faces in a move to “remove the stigma around disfigurement.”

BFI’s deputy CEO, Ben Roberts, announced the decision as part of a new “diversity commitment,” through which the organization aims to allocate 7 percent of funding to filmmakers with disabilities, according to the Telegraph.

“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,” Roberts said.

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

Changing Faces, a UK charity for “everyone with a mark, scar or condition that makes them look different,” applauded the initiative.

“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. “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.”

BFI receives roughly $26 million annually from UK taxpayers and another $33 million from the national lottery, according to the Sun.

The institute recently provided financial backing for Dirty God, a forthcoming movie about a South London woman who is victim of an acid attack.

London is now considered the “acid attack capital of the world” after a six-fold increase of the barbaric practice since 2012, and over 2,000 such attacks in the last three years alone.


Dan Lyman: