American Express and the British Film Institute have signed a landmark, multi-year partnership.

Amex will become a new headline sponsor of the BFI London Film Festival and will also support the BFI’s year-round cultural programme. The partnership will also support quarterly screenings at the BFI IMAX and the acclaimed ‘Screen Epiphanies’ series at BFI Southbank, which offers notable guests presenting films that have inspired them.

The BFI deal builds on American Express’ strategy of providing special offers to its card members. In particular, the Preferred Seating’ programme, which was rolled out in the UK last year, will offer special seats and opportunities at BFI events.

Amanda Nevill, Director of the BFI, said: “Over 58% of the BFI’s total funding is self-generated and in the current economic climate private sponsors and donors have never been so important. We are proud of the strong cultural mix of contemporary and historical film programmes that we deliver to new and existing audiences in Britain. It feels like a festival for 52 weeks of the year and we are looking forward to working with American Express to entertain, challenge and inspire those audiences in equal measure.”

Raymond Joabar, UK Managing Director, American Express, added: “We are delighted to be working with such an iconic and internationally respected organisation as the BFI to give our Cardmembers access to some of the best in film from around the world. This new partnership further strengthens our ties within the industry and builds on our heritage in film as founding sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival and a regular supporter of the Sundance Film Festival. We look forward to working with the BFI on developing and promoting a programme of events that will celebrate the artistry of film and continue to raise the visibility of British film talent and the BFI London Film Festival both in the UK and abroad ”

The UK’s new Minister for Culture, Communication and Creative industries Ed Vaizey said: “This new partnership is an excellent example of how private business can support the arts. This multi-year commitment from American Express to the BFI shows that there is a genuine appetite among world leading businesses to support film in the UK and that collaborating with top cultural organisations has serious commercial benefits.”