A trip to space with Leonardo DiCaprio, a private performance by legendary rock icons Duran Duran, and a family portrait sitting with Annie Leibovitz: these were just a few of the items sold at amfAR's most successful benefit event to date.
Cinema Against AIDS XX on May 23 exceeded all expectations, raising nearly $25 million in a single night, helping amfAR in its continued fight against HIV/AIDS.
amfAR has long been known for its global reach, but Cinema Against AIDS XX marked its first foray into outer space fundraising, with three seats aboard Virgin Galactic alongside Leonardo DiCaprio selling for a combined total of €3 million. This truly once in a lifetime opportunity, secured by amfAR Global Fundraising Ambassador Milutin Gatsby, raised more than any other single auction item ever seen at an amfAR benefit. Harvey Weinstein, a longtime chair of Cinema Against AIDS, helped to lead the live auction at the record-breaking charity event, held in conjunction with the Cannes International Film Festival on May 23 at the famed Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France.
amfAR Global Fundraising Chairman Sharon Stone said in a statement, “Tonight in Cannes we’ve made AIDS history. We’ve made $25 million with the very people who seeded the pediatric AIDS fund. We’re grateful, and we’re grateful to that one little girl in Mississippi who was our first child cured. To you, we dedicate this evening, because you are the girl who’s taking us forward into the future, when this cure will be here not only for the 330,000 children who have AIDS, but the 34 million people who are living with AIDS. Tonight is for you. We love you. Our hope belongs to you.”
Stone was a Chair of the event, along with Weinstein and amfAR Ambassadors Janet Jackson and Milla Jovovich, amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole, Jessica Chastain, Global Fundraising Ambassador Milutin Gatsby, Heidi Klum, Carine Roitfeld, Aram Shishmanian, Michel Litvak, Roberto and Eva Cavalli, Vincent Roberti, Remo Ruffini, and Boris Collardi, who were all in attendance.
amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole and Harvey Weinstein took the stage together during the night to reflect on how much the Cinema Against AIDS event has grown since its inception at the Cannes film festival in 1993, largely due to the passionate support of the film, music, and fashion communities. At the end of the night, Cole and Weinstein announced the $25 million raised to the audience, and thanked everyone involved for bringing amfAR a step closer to curing AIDS.
Guests included Nicole Kidman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adrien Brody, Thom Browne, Rosario Dawson, Lily Donaldson, Goldie Hawn, Eva Herzigova, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jeremy Irvine, Stacy Keibler, Karlie Kloss, Heidi Klum, Karolina Kurkova, Melanie Laurent, Annie Leibowitz, Olivia Palermo, Zachary Quinto, Aishwarya Rai, Jeremy Renner, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Liberty Ross, Anja Rubik, Ludivine Sagnier, Kristin Scott Thomas, Irina Shayk, Joan Smalls, Audrey Tautou, Stefano Tonchi, Giambattista Valli, Stefanie Van Der Laan, Paz Vega, Dita Von Teese, Christoph Waltz, and Zhang Ziyi, among many others.
Some of the highlights in a truly unforgettable evening included live performances by internationally renowned musical acts. Duran Duran, who have sold more than 100 million records throughout their storied career, had guests at Cinema Against AIDS dancing in the aisles. Joined by dozens of top models on stage, they played their cult classic “Girls on Film,” giving their only public performance of 2013. Dame Shirley Bassey made a special appearance to sing a number of her much loved and celebrated songs, including “Goldfinger,” and brought the house down with a commanding performance. Ellie Goulding, one of the UK’s most exciting singer-songwriters, opened the evening with a stripped-down acoustic rendition of “Lights.” Rounding out the line-up was American Music Awards winner Hot Chelle Rae, who performed their mega-smash hit “Tonight, Tonight.”
“The Ultimate Gold Collection Fashion Show” was one of the most dynamic moments of the night. Curated by Carine Roitfeld, forty top models walked in the spectacular runway presentation of one-of-a-kind gold looks, accessorized with gold jewelry from emerging and established designers. The entire collection was auctioned off for a total of €1.2 million. The show was streamed live on LoveGold.com.
The auction opened with an Academy Awards Weekend package that sold for 1.5 million euros. The lot included tickets to some of the most exclusive Hollywood awards season parties. Leonardo DiCaprio generously donated a pair of tickets to the upcoming premiere of Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” in which he stars. Heidi Klum offered the unbelievable addition of going along as the winner’s date. The package was so popular in the room that a second set of tickets went for €500,000, minus Ms. Klum.
amfAR Global Fundraising Chairman Sharon Stone led an appeal that raised more than €1.25 million for amfAR’s Pediatric AIDS Initiative.
A private, in-home performance by Duran Duran was another of the evening’s priceless auction items. This one-of-a-kind experience sold for €400,000.
Goldie Hawn auctioned off a stay at Donna Karan's Parrot Cay retreat and a pink gold and diamond Shamballa Jewels Royal Bracelet. The package sold for €200,000.
Zachary Quinto helped to sell a priceless opportunity to play soccer alongside Zinedine Zidane and take in a Real Madrid match with the world-famous footballer in his private box at Real Madrid Santiago Bernabou Stadium, which sold for €380,000.
Other artworks in the auction included an Andy Warhol print of amfAR Founding International Chairman Dame Elizabeth Taylor, “Liz, 1964,” a Damien Hirst piece entitled “DL-Octopamine,” and an original plate portrait by Julian Schnabel.
A rare bottle of 1893 Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection sold for €50,000 and was presented by Jeremy Irvine.
Cinema Against AIDS XX featured an exhibition by iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz, who also donated coveted items to the live auction. Her Niagara Falls print sold for €320,000, and the chance to sit for a private family portrait with Leibovitz sold for €450,000.
Longtime amfAR supporter Roberto Cavalli was responsible for the design and décor for the gala dinner. The famed Italian designer created a spectacular setting for the event, dressing every table and chair in his dazzling signature prints.
Since amfAR’s late Founding International Chairman Dame Elizabeth Taylor hosted the first Cinema Against AIDS in 1993, the event has become the most coveted ticket in Cannes. Past events have been chaired by amfAR Global Fundraising Chairman Sharon Stone, President Bill Clinton, Demi Moore, Sir Elton John, and Madonna, among many others.
Like the epidemic itself, AIDS research knows no borders. amfAR’s programs have had a global reach since 1986, when the Foundation began awarding international grants. Today, amfAR continues to fund HIV/AIDS researchers worldwide and works to translate their research into effective policy, prevention, and treatment programs around the globe.