Hurrah. Some good news for the British Film Institute in the wake of its merger with the UK Film Council being cancelled. American Express will be headline sponsor of this year’s BFI London Film Festival this October. The credit card company will also support quarterly screenings at the BFI Imax, and the Screen Epiphanies series at BFI Southbank, where celebrities introduce and discuss films that have inspired them. Stars including John Hurt and Juliet Stephenson and director Sam Taylor-Wood have taken part. Amex cardholders will be offered priority tickets, the best seats in the house and “meet and greet” opportunities. The BFI won’t say how long the Amex sponsorship deal will last for, nor how much it is worth.
Amanda Nevill, director of the BFI, points out that 58% of the BFI’s total funding is self-generated. Our cheekychops culture minister Ed Vaizey has inserted himself into the press release, congratulating the BFI on how the Amex partnership is an excellent example of private business supporting the arts. It’s something the BFI’s going to have to get more adept at. Vaizey has just cancelled the BFI National Film Centre, leaving the institute to find the entire £166 million ($271 million) cost itself.