Barbie named top movie of 2023 – for challenging conventional stereotypes

Barbie has been voted the best film of 2023 – for challenging conventional stereotypes. The star-studded blockbuster was applauded by 2,000 film fans for putting a spotlight on gender norms and imbalances.

Second spot went to The Little Mermaid for its casting of black actor, Halle Bailey, in the lead role, while The Whale’s depiction of depression rounded off the top three.

Filmgoers also celebrated Guardians of the Galaxy 3 for featuring a superhero from the LGBTQ+ community, according to the poll commissioned by M&M’s Short Film Festival, which offers funding and mentorship to aspiring filmmakers.

However, despite the progress, 66 percent believe the film industry still perpetuates clichés when portraying characters of under-represented groups – while 41 percent still don’t feel represented in cinema.

More than half (54 percent) want more effort to be made for minority roles to be awarded to actors from those communities – rising to 73 percent among the Gen-Z movie lovers polled.

Accurate representation is also at the forefront of the mind of these younger audiences, as 54 percent reveal fair representation of minority groups improves their viewing experience.

And 77 percent say poor representation or outdated stereotypes is enough for them to turn off a movie, or leave the cinema.

According to the poll, carried out via OnePoll, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is guilty of this, and has aged badly – with 27 percent citing Mr Yunioshi being played by a white actor in yellowface as a major misstep.

One in four noted Gone with the Wind’s problematic romanticisation of the horrors of slavery in the Antebellum South, while 20 percent decried The Last Samurai for its inaccurate portrayal of Japanese culture.

In fact, 40 percent even believe they would do a better job when it comes to representation in film, if they were given the chance to shoot a motion picture themselves.

Aspiring directors looking to bring their stories to life can apply for M&M’s Short Film Festival by submitting a film idea inspired by the theme of belonging.

A diverse panel of judges will select three to progress, and create trailers which will be screened to the public in order to decide the winner – who will receive a cash prize and mentorship to make their movie.

Monique Needham, who won last year, and is now joining the line-up of mentors, said: “I’m so excited to be teaming up with M&M’S to support the next generation of filmmakers, helping tell rich stories that deserve to be seen on screen, rather than outdated stereotypes.

“Through the funding of my film, Sunday Dinner, I was able to finally tell a story that brings to life characters that exist in my world, showcasing British-Caribbean culture in a rounded way that I don’t often get to see in Britain.”

Leah Dyckes, from Bitesize, added: “As a treat synonymous with movie culture, we feel it is our duty to use our global platform to give aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to amplify their voices, and continue increasing a sense of belonging, and breaking barriers for those with a passion for creativity, regardless of their background.”

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