The British Film Institute (BFI) has named actor Tom Hiddleston as its first BFI Ambassador.

Tom Hiddleston

According to the BFI, Hiddleston’s new Ambassador role will be “a life-cause to advocate for British film and the BFI’s vital work in building the next generation of film talent and film lovers in the UK”.

The British actor is best known for roles in blockbusters including Thor, The Avengers and War Horse as well as well as working with British filmmakersincluding Joanna Hogg (Archipelago), Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) and Ben Wheatley, who’s upcoming film High-Rise stars Hiddleston and will screen as part of the BFI London Film Festival on Oct 9.

Hiddleston said: “Film is an art form - one of the most powerful, accessible, democratic and transformative in our society. It allows us to see the world around us, and the lives of others. It plays a vital role in establishing our national identity and gives us confidence as a nation.

“The BFI looks after the most significant collection of film and television in the world. It should be treasured and protected, in the same way we treasure and protect all our great cultural collections, from art and music, to libraries and museums.

“The BFI’s mission is to ensure that our film culture is kept alive, and to inspire the next generation of film talent. It’s the reason the BFI exists and why I am committed to being a BFI Ambassador.”

Amanda Nevill, BFI CEO said: “Tom is a hugely admired and influential actor who understands the full breadth of film culture. He moves fluidly from starring in the world’s most successful blockbusters to remaining engaged with - and loyal to - emerging British filmmakers where he is admiringly bold and risk taking in his choices.

“This potent combination demonstrates Tom’s innate understanding that greatness in film rests upon deep cultural foundations - something that Britain is exporting to the world.

“Tom will be an enormous boost to the BFI and I want to thank him for taking on this extremely important role on behalf of British film.’

Hiddleston will help raise awareness of the BFI’s key activities as a cultural charity including its film programmes, film education, film preservation at the BFI National Archive and BFI-led initiatives such as the BFI Film Academy.

He will attend the BFI’s fundraising gala, Luminous, tonight and will take to the stage for his inaugural BFI Ambassador speech. Tonight’s event will raise funds for the BFI National Archive - the UK’s national collection of film and TV.