The MASK: Smiling in the Face of Adversity

The Mask

One of my hobby horses has always been that comics have rarely been treated as a serious medium by main stream culture when it has produced such works as Maus, The Tale of One Bad Rat and V for Vendetta.

And V for Vendetta is certainly one that has caught the public imagination. Perhaps it was the comic, perhaps it was the film. But either way, people have adopted the V mask as a means of anonymising their identity within demonstrations on all sides of the political spectrum.

V for Vendetta Collection
V for Vendetta Collection
Now, Glasgow-based QuigleyFilm have announced they are planning a documentary for public viewing in November 2016. Partly funded by Channel 4 and Creative Scotland, the film makers have turned to Kickstarter to fund other production costs.

They are looking at how the V mask has caught the imagination of those in the Occupy and Anonymous groups as a simple method of hiding their identity and allowing them to participate fully in these groups without fearing that their identities will somehow become weapons to be used against them.

(The announcement of the project comes as campaign group Anonymous rally support for their hoped-for Million Mask March on 5th November, a call to have anywhere up to a million people descend on government institutions wearing V masks (and other anonymising costumes. As Bleeding Cool noted recently, they’ve even provided costume tips and a version of the mask, in case campaigners prefer not to pay for an official one that earns Warner Bros., who license it, up to 90% in royalties on every sale, according to Warrior’s publisher, Dez Skinn).

QuigleyFilm is a talent pool of producers, directors, designers, and writers, whose clients include the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Al Jazeera, National Geographic Channel, The History Channel, Discovery Channel, Creative Scotland and more.

Their Kickstarter project to raise £75,0000 aims to close the gap between what funding the film makers have gained from Creative Scotland and Channel 4 by making use of the crowdfunding model.

“In the 1980s, artist David Lloyd and writer Alan Moore created the character V – a flamboyant, anarchist terrorist with a Guy Fawkes mask – who brings down a UK government and teaches his fellow citizens to rule themselves,” the film’s director Jane Quigley notes.

V for Vendetta film poster 
“After the release of a film adaption of the original comic V for Vendetta in 2006, the grinning white mask became a unifying symbol of global protest.

“Its rosy cheeks and upturned moustache are now associated with groups such as Occupy and Anonymous, resulting in attempts to make its sale and use illegal.

 

Jane Quigley, the V project's director
Jane Quigley, the V project’s director . Photo: QuigleyFilm
 “And like Alberto Korda´s famous photograph of Che Guevara, David Lloyd’s interpretation of the Guy Fawkes mask has become a symbol of rebellion against tyranny across the globe.

“In this documentary we will give a voice to the 99% and reveal how police intimidation and surveillance affects those who want to highlight injustice and inequality.

“As well as our key characters, we intend to include key contributors from the Occupy groups, David Lloyd and others, possibly including Julian Assange, Russell Brand, Amal Clooney, Alan Moore, The Wachowskis and Xavier Prou (Blek le Rat).”

 V for Vendetta image 
Noting some of the potential challenges to the project, Jane insists  the film makers are determined not to betray the integrity of the V Mask and the people who wear it. 

“We will observe all standard safety precautions and our research, pre-production and filming process will put no one, both in front and behind the camera, at risk,” she says.

• For a more in-depth look, you can read about their project on their kickstarter page The MASK: Smiling in the Face of Adversity | Find The Mask on Facebook | Follow @theMASKsmiling on Twitter

V for Vendetta copyright Alan Moore & David Lloyd

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Colin Noble

Colin Noble

A life-long comic fan specialising mainly in UK adventure comics. I do my best to support my passion for the comics of my youth, Commandos (still going!) and any small press that interest me.

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