AmfAR Aids benefit hits new record

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The 13th annual Cinema Against Aids AmfAR (www.amfar.org) benefit dinner in Cannes hosted by actress Sharon Stone and Harvey Weinstein, chairman of The Weinstein Company, raised $4.4m for Aids research on Thursday night on ticket sales and a star-studded auction. The Weinsteins were again one of the main sponsors of the event as were Vincent Roberti’s Palisades Pictures and Bold Films.

The sale of The Weinstein Company and Bold Films’ private screening of Bobby, a film set on the final evening of Robert Kennedy’s life, was one of the most popular of the evening selling for $55,000.

Guests included Robin Williams, official Cannes jury member Samuel L. Jackson, Michelle Yeoh, Gael Garcia Bernal, Ziyi Zhang, Sofia Coppola, Rosario Dawson, Faye Dunaway, Lance Armstrong, Petra Nemcova, Wyclef Jean, the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, Kevin Smith, Bold Films’ Michel Litvak, Anna Mouglalis, Vincent Roberti, French Vogue’s Carine Roitfeld and amfAR’s chairman of the board Kenneth Cole.

One of the other highlights of the evening’s auction was David Furnish auctioning off Sir Elton John’s red piano, which was donated to amfAR by Stone. The red piano package, which sold for $230,000, included tickets to Elton John’s Oscar party, theatre tickets for Billy Elliott in London and his and hers Chopard watches.

Robin Williams, who was one of the funniest acts of the night, and Petra Nemcova auctioned off the Quintessentially South of France package, which sold for $80,000. Williams was one of the most generous bidders of the night paying $40,000 for a one-of-a-kind Giorgio Armani black diamond necklace, created exclusively for Cinema Against Aids, as well as an $80,000 impromptu performance by Wyclef Jean accompanied by Stone.

Williams, who is as irreverent as one would expect, tried to jolt the bidding into action at one point by calling the A-list guests a little mean and joking that he had just paid $40,000 for what could be a “diamond-studded coke vial”, presumably referring to his much publicised battle with drugs and subsequent triumph over those demons.

A portrait sitting with artist Peter Lindbergh and a print called “Sasha With Bolex, French Vogue” sold for $120,000 after being auctioned by Gael Garcia Bernal, star of The Motorcycle Diaries, and Kimora Lee Simmons.

The largest bid of the evening secured Julian Schnabel’s spontaneous offer of one of his plate portraits was which was purchased by Diesel’s Renzo Rosso for $410,000.

Of the other bids some highlights were: Stone auctioning off a Keith Haring original piece composed of Herb Ritts photographs for $160,000; Sin City’s Rosario Dawson and Jason Lewis auctioning off the opportunity to join them for lunch on Renzo Rosso’s yacht for $5,000 per couple; Faye Dunaway and Kevin Smith sold the ultimate Dubai Package for $100,000; and a Fendi sable-trimmed, hand-woven cashmere poncho and travel bag designed by Stone went for $35,000.

AUDI AG, Hewlett-Packard Company, Quintessentially, Warner Home Video and American Airlines were the event’s co-sponsors all donating VIP packages to be auctioned off.

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