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People with facial scars anddisfigurements dress up as heroes in charity campaign

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Screen baddies have often been illustrated with some kind of disfigurement.

Yet a charity is calling for the film industry to embrace ‘equal representation of visible difference’ and has launched a new campaign showcasing its supporters as popular leading characters to show that those who appear different can be more than just the villains.

Changing Faces made its campaigners feel like movie stars – dressing them as Indiana Jones, James Bond, Audrey Hepburn, Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz and the Black Panther.

Launching its campaign, I Am Not Your Villain, the British charity, which supports and represents people with conditions, marks or scars, hopes to change perceptions of people with a disfigurement.

Tulsi Vagliani, 42, who was injured in a plane crash during her childhood, as Audrey Hepburn

Adam Pearson, 36, who suffers from a facial disfigurement due to neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder of the nervous system, as Indiana Jones, left, and Tulsi Vagliani, 42, who was injured in a plane crash during her childhood, as Audrey Hepburn, right

Michael Boateng, 33, as the Black Panther (pictured).Changing Faces made his campaigners feel like movie stars - dressing them as Indiana Jones, James Bond, Audrey Hepburn, Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz and the Black Panther

Michael Boateng, 33, as the Black Panther (pictured).Changing Faces made his campaigners feel like movie stars – dressing them as Indiana Jones, James Bond, Audrey Hepburn, Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz and the Black Panther

Robert Rhodes, 26, from London, who has a birthmark on the side of his face, told Lucy Laing for the Daily Express: ‘I never thought I’d play a character like James Bond. You only ever see baddies with scars on the screen. It felt good to be cast as a hero instead.’

Meanwhile, Tulsi Vagliani, 42, who was injured in a plane crash during her childhood, played the part of Audrey Hepburn for the campaign.

She said: ‘I just wish I’d seen someone who looked like me playing a heroine on screen when I was growing up.

‘It would have helped me to feel not alone. I want to tell young people like me we are unique.’

The campaign calls for the film industry to stop using scars, burns or marks as a shorthand for villainy.

Launching its campaign, I Am Not Your Villain, the British charity, which supports and represents people with conditions, marks or scars, hopes to change perceptions of people with a disfigurement.  Pictured, Eleanor Hardie, 21, as Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz

Launching its campaign, I Am Not Your Villain, the British charity, which supports and represents people with conditions, marks or scars, hopes to change perceptions of people with a disfigurement. Pictured, Eleanor Hardie, 21, as Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz

Robert Rhodes (pictured), 26, from London, said: 'I never thought I'd play a character like James Bond'

Robert Rhodes (pictured), 26, from London, said: ‘I never thought I’d play a character like James Bond’

Research by the charity found that only 1 in 5 people with a visible difference have seen a character who looks like them cast as the hero in a film or on TV.

Even fewer (15 per cent) have seen someone with a visible difference playing the love interest on screen.

Yet nearly double, at 39 per cent, have watched a person with a visible difference be cast as the villain.

The British Film Institute (BFI) was the first organization to sign up to the campaign. BFI has committed to stop funding films in which negative characteristics are depicted through scars or facial difference.

Ben Roberts, Film Fund Director at the BFI, told the charity: Film has such a powerful influence on society, it enables us to see the world in new ways, enriches lives and can make a vital contribution to our wellbeing.

Research by the charity found that only 1 in 5 people with a visible difference have seen a character who looks like them cast as the hero in a film or on TV.  Pictured,Michael as the Black Panther

Research by the charity found that only 1 in 5 people with a visible difference have seen a character who looks like them cast as the hero in a film or on TV. Pictured,Michael as the Black Panther

Even fewer (15 per cent) have seen someone with a visible difference playing the love interest on screen.  Pictured, Robert as James Bond

Even fewer (15 per cent) have seen someone with a visible difference playing the love interest on screen. Pictured, Robert as James Bond

It also 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.

Its astonishing to think that films have used visible difference as a shorthand for villainy so often and for so long. The time has come for this to stop.

The BFI believes that film should be truly representative of the UK, and this campaign speaks directly to the criteria in the BFI Diversity Standards which call for meaningful representations on screen.

We fully support Changing Faces I Am Not Your Villain campaign and urge the rest of the film industry to do the same.

Sources

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2/ https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-10429885/People-facial-scars-disfigurements-dress-heroes-charity-campaign.html

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