|Cannes, France, May 23, 2008Madonna, Sharon Stone, Harvey Weinstein, Natalie Portman, Michelle Yeoh, Mary J. Blige, Victoria and Dennis Hopper, Milla Jovovich, Samantha Morton, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Christian Slater, Dita Von Teese, Bold Films Michel Litvak, Palisades Pictures Vincent Roberti, French Vogues Carine Roitfeld, and amfARs Chairman Kenneth Cole were among those who came out to support the fight against AIDS last night at amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS gala in Cannes. The star-studded event, which was sponsored by Bold Films, Chopard, and The Weinstein Company, raised more than $10 million for amfAR’s life-saving AIDS research programs. Audi, Canal +, Hewlett-Packard Company, and Luxury Limited Edition co-sponsored the event.
Other guests who attended the gala at the Moulin de Mougins in support of amfAR included: Roberta Armani, Amira Casar, Zoe Cassavetes, Dean and Dan Caten, Roberto and Eva Cavalli, Georgina Chapman, Jeisa Chiminazzo, Maria Cuomo Cole, Emily Cole, Alan Cumming, Lily Donaldson, Laurence Ferrari, David Furnish, Eva Herzigova, Marina Hinds, Tommy Hilfiger, Joshua Jackson, Star Jones, Diane Kruger, Juliette Lewis, Danny Masterson, Rose McGowan, Tamara Mellon, Svetlana Metkina, Margherita Missoni, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Petra Nemcova, Elsa Pataki, Natasha Poly, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Sir Cliff Richard, Joely Richardson, Guy Ritchie, Renzo Rosso, Rodrigo Santora, Valentino, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Ziyi Zhang, and Donatella Versace, who conceived of and realized the evenings décor.
The evening opened as amfARs CEO Kevin Robert Frost welcomed guests to the fifteenth annual Cinema Against AIDS Cannes event. Harvey Weinstein followed to kick off the evening and discussed his long and passionate commitment to this event. He then introduced Kenneth Cole, amfAR’s chairman of the board, who took to the stage next and reminded everyone about the critical nature of pursuing sound research in the face of the AIDS epidemic.
The legendary live auction, conducted by Sharon Stone, amfAR’s global fundraising chairman, and Harvey Weinstein, kicked off with Ms. Stone’s request for special support in honor of her fiftieth birthday. She began with her own pledge of $100,000 and in a moving speech she urged others in the room to meet her pledge; this joint effort raised $2 million in 10 minutes. Bidders included Christophe Navarre of Moët-Hennessy, Milla Jovovich, Michelle Yeoh, Renzo Rosso, Roberto Cavalli, Ryan Kavanaugh, Tommy Hilfiger, and Valentino.
Following this unprecedented gesture, Ms. Stone presented a lot including a Louis Vuitton vanity case she designed herself and a one-of-a-kind print of Keith Richards signed by the photographer Annie Leibovitz, which sold for $129,000. Later on, she auctioned off her own vintage Porsche 911 Targa, a meticulously restored automobile, which sold for $810,000.
Longtime amfAR supporter Madonna spoke movingly about her experiences losing loved ones to HIV/AIDS as a young performer in New York City in the 1980s. Madonna thanked amfAR for the work it has done over the years, and emphasized that a cure for AIDS must be found. She also introduced a clip of her documentary I Am Because We Are, a film she narrated and produced, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in conjunction with amfARs Cinema Against AIDS. In the spirit of generosity, Madonna donated a private performance of two songs, won by an ecstatic bidder for $560,000.
A special performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Mary J. Blige was a highlight of the event. Ms. Blige brought the crowd of more than 700 guests to their feet when she sang her rendition of “One” by U2, and her hit single “Family Affair.” Later in the evening, guests were treated to an unexpected surprise as amfAR Ambassador Milla Jovovich serenaded the crowd along with Ms. Stone while Dita Von Teese performed a tantalizing preview of her signature burlesque moves.
As a sharp reminder of devastating events in other parts of the world, amfAR Ambassador Michelle Yeoh asked for a moment of silence in honor of those affected by the earthquake in China.
amfAR supporter Natalie Portman also contributed to the live auction as she and Paulo Coelho danced onstage while auctioning off a package dedicated to the upcoming Weinstein film release Nine. The package included lunch on-set with a cast that includes Academy Award-winners Daniel Day-Lewis and Marion Cottilard, screening tickets, and an original manuscript of Mr. Coelhos new novel about the Cannes Film Festival. The package sold for $243,000. A last minute addition to the program was made by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, who offered “24 Hours with Diddy,” to the highest bidder. This lot raised $324,000 for amfAR.
Other highlights of the auction included:
Christian Slater and Petra Nemcova auctioned off an HP Film Festival and Tech Package for $35,000.
Rose McGowan and Svetlana Metkina auctioned off a Christian Dior Parfums package, including a personalized scent, for $40,500.
Rodrigo Santoro and Jeisa Chiminazzo auctioned off a Victorias Secret Package, including invitations for six people to the Victorias Secret Pre-Show Party, six VIP seats to the Victorias Secret Fashion show, and access to an exclusive Victorias Secret After-Party for $178,000.
A Christian Dior Couture red sapphire crystal-encrusted mobile phone with 640 diamonds was sold by Ms. Stone for $195,000.
David Furnish and Dennis Hopper auctioned off a private sitting with renowned artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel for $486,000.
Madonna added her special touch to a diamond-encrusted alligator skin Chanel purse designed by Karl Lagerfeld by including her personal lip gloss, compact mirror, and blotting papers for $486,000.