CANNES, FRANCE – A galaxy of stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman and Will Smith turned out for an AIDS benefit that is the social highlight of the Cannes film festival.
The annual amfAR Foundation for AIDs Research gala dinner late Thursday at the luxury Eden Roc hotel just along the French Riviera at Cap d’Antibes saw celebrities and benefactors paying up to half a million dollars (466,000 euros) for a table.
Actresses Jessica Chastain, Milla Jovovich, Eva Longoria, footballer David Beckham and directors David Lynch and jury president Pedro Almodovar were also among the A-listers present for the auction to help the charity founded by the late Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor.
They were aiming to beat the 22 million euros raised at last year’s dinner when DiCaprio – who acted as auctioneer – sold a sculpture by British artist Damien Hirst for 3.1 million euros and a day with Hollywood star Kevin Spacey for half a million.
This year’s lots included a week in an exclusive resort in the Maldives for 60 people, a fully restored 1958 Jaguar XK150 sports car and a weekend for 30 on a luxury yacht.
For those on more modest budgets, there was a 14-metre (46-foot) statue specially created for the occasion by French artist JR, whose “Faces Places” documentary with Agnes Varda is one of the hits of the festival, which ends Sunday.
The final figure from this year’s auction will be released later Friday.
Since the galas began at the Cannes festival in 1993, the “Cinema Against AIDS” dinners have raised more than 174 million euros for the charity.