Saturday, May 22, 2010

50 Stars Gather in Cannes for amfAR'S Cinema Against AIDS Gala 2010

Jennifer Lopez arrives for the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS benefit
63rd Cannes International Film Festival
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d'Antibes, May 20, 2010
(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Mick Jagger, Marion Cotillard, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton, Alain Delon, Patti Smith, Gerard Butler, Grace Jones and Kristin Scott-Thomas were among the illuminati attending Thursday May 20th amfAR's 17th Cinema Against AIDS banquet. The benefit held at a luxury hotel in the French Riviera town of Cap d'Antibes, raised $6.7 million (euro5.36 million) for AIDS research and boasts the festival's highest density of stars. At the first party in 1994, chairwoman Elizabeth Taylor presided, and Sharon Stone was the spirited auctioneer.

Sharon Stone usually emcees the annual event, but her shooting schedule prevented her from attending this year's gala, so other celebrities took turns revving up the crowd. Russell Crowe, Michelle Williams, and designer-cum-movie director Tom Ford were among those who took to helped lead the auction.

The evening's entertainment was provided by punk icon Patti Smith and R&B singer Mary J. Blige, who captivated the crowd with her acapella rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven."

A feeling of insider camaraderie permeated the event - where a single seat cost $6,000.

Following a confusing technical description of the 6-liter bottle of Dom Perignon, Michele Williams told the crowd: "If you know what that word is, you're rich enough to buy it." The champagne fetched $80,000.

Other high-fetching lots included a day with former President Bill Clinton, which went for $220,000, and a flight in a fighter jet, which reached $170,000.

Attendees from the film, fashion and music world include Emily Blunt, Elizabeth Banks, Kate Beckinsale, Sean Penn, Diane Kruger, Kristin Scott Thomas, Naomi Watts, Rachel Bilson, Mary J Blige, Alan Cumming, Naomi Campbell, Kirsten Dunst, Benicio Del Toro, Harvey Weinstein, Giorgio Armani, Ana Beatriz Barros, Roberto Cavalli, amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole, Peter Dundas, Cuba Gooding Jr., Eva Green, Natalie Imbruglia, Ryan Kavanaugh, Karl Lagerfeld, Diego Luna, Bar Refaeli, Carine Roitfeld, Mallika Sherawat, Joss Stone, Charlene Whitstock, Milutin Gatsby, Michel Litvak, Vincent Roberti and more.

Cinema Against AIDS 2010 was presented by Bold Films, the Weinstein Company, and Palisades Tartan, to benefit amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

Last year, the event brought in just $4.5 million - roughly half the money raised in 2008. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $307 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.

"It's a hard economy out there and it's nice to remember that we have to give back," Weinstein said.

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