The 22nd annual Cinema Against AIDS gala raised more than $30 million last week in support of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, and its pursuit of a cure for HIV/AIDS.
The star-studded black-tie event, held at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival, was presented by Harry Winston and Bold Films.
Event Chairs included amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole, Harvey Weinstein, Jake Gyllenhaal, Carine Roitfeld, Isabella Rossellini, Frances McDormand, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, Diane Kruger, John C. Reilly, Michel Litvak, amfAR Global Fundraising Chairman Milutin Gatsby, Len Blavatnik, Nayla Hayek, Remo Ruffini, and Vin Roberti.
Other guests in attendance, many of whom participated in the evening’s auction included: Antonio Banderas, Matt Bellamy, Andrea Bocelli, Adrien Brody, Marion Cotillard, Xavier Dolan, Lily Donaldson, Jourdan Dunn, Michael Fassbender, Tom Ford, David Gandy, Melissa George, Madalina Ghenea, Jake Gyllenhaal, Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Lewis Hamilton, Eva Herzigova, Chanel Iman, Kendall Jenner, Harvey Keitel, Karlie Kloss, Zoe Kravitz, Karolina Kurkova, Adriana Lima, Eva Longoria, Sienna Miller, Petra Nemcova, Rita Ora, Barbara Palvin, Michelle Rodriguez, Irina Shayk, Paolo Sorrentino, Dita Von Teese, Mario Testino, Robin Thicke, Chris Tucker, Alicia Vikander, Binx Walton, and Lindsey Wixson, among many others.
The undisputed highlight of the evening’s live auction, led by auctioneer Simon de Pury, was a stunning 18½ foot tall sculpture by Jeff Koons, titled Coloring Book. This magnificent artwork was on display at the Hôtel du Cap for guests to admire against the backdrop of the Mediterranean. After a lively round of bidding, the work, part of Koons’s Celebration Series, sold for over $13 million.
Another outstanding work by one of the world’s best known artists, legendary Columbian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, was also on display throughout the event. Titled Donna su Cavallo, and introduced by John C. Reilly and Eva Herzigova, the statue went for $2.2 million.
Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan introduced an exquisite bespoke diamond necklace, designed exclusively for amfAR and Cinema Against AIDS by Harry Winston in recognition of their new milestone partnership with amfAR. Recalling the teardrop silhouette of the famed Taylor-Burton diamond, the necklace was comprised of 191 round brilliant and marquise diamonds and weighed in at 33 carats. Titled “Epic Cluster,” it was purchased by a winning bidder for $500,000.
A work by Banksy, the world’s most famous and mysterious street artist, was donated to the auction by Leonardo DiCaprio from his private collection and sold for over $1 million. Titled Smiling Copper on Cardboard, it was introduced by Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Mr. DiCaprio also contributed a one-of-kind experience to the auction by offering a seat at his table at the upcoming gala for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in St. Tropez. The surprise package, which also included a private dinner with Mr. DiCaprio, sold for $280,000.
A stunning feature of the evening was a Black and White fashion show curated by longtime amfAR supporter Carine Roitfeld. The dazzling collection featured one-of-a-kind looks, half in black, half in white, from the world’s most celebrated fashion houses. Participating designers included Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Gucci, Prada, Céline, Balmain, Giorgio Armani, and Tom Ford, among others. Forty of the world’s top models participated in the runway presentation, including Event Co-Chairs , Adriana Lima, Irina Shayk, and Karolina Kurkova, as well as Barbara Palvin, Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Binx Walton, Chanel Iman, Izabel Goulart, and Lily Donaldon, among others.
The Black and White collection was subsequently auctioned off in its entirety by Tom Ford and Eva Longoria, selling for nearly $1 million.
For the second year in a row, internationally acclaimed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli donated a dinner for 12 people at his private residence, either on the coast of Tuscany or in Miami Beach. Auctioned by Chris Tucker and Petra Nemcova, the lot sold twice for over $1 million each. To give the winners a sneak peek of the intimate performance they would be treated to as part of the experience, Mr. Bocelli took to the stage for a moving, impromptu performance of “Por Ti Volare.”
The unforgettable evening also featured live performances by internationally renowned musical acts. Grammy-nominated British pop sensation Charli XCX kicked off the evening with an explosive performance of her top hits “Break the Rules” and “Boom Clap”. Multi-platinum selling and nine-time Grammy Award-winner Mary J. Blige got the crowd on their feet with a performance of her classic hit “Family Affair.” The evening culminated in an electrifying performance by Grammy Award-winning rock band Imagine Dragons, who performed hits such as “It’s Time,” “Demons,” and “Radioactive.”
In other highlights of the auction:
• A priceless pencil drawing by Pablo Picasso titled “L’Etreinte,” signed and dated by the artist, sold for $800,000.
• An Andy Warhol portrait of Elizabeth Taylor, amfAR’s Founding International Chairman, sold to Eva Longoria for $600,000.
• An untitled work by one of the most acclaimed and influential artists of the 20th century, Alexander Calder, auctioned off by Frances McDormand, also sold for $600,000.
• The final auction lot of the evening was a private portrait sitting with legendary fashion photographer Mario Testino. Taking the stage with top models Karlie Kloss, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Jourdan Dunn, Mr. Testino helped sell the experience for nearly $1,000,000.
In his remarks, amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole acknowledged the enormous success of Cinema Against AIDS in generating funds to advance amfAR’s AIDS research programs. “With your help,” said Cole, “we have recently mounted an all-out effort to find a cure for AIDS, and are poised to write the final chapter on this deadly epidemic.”
Cinema Against AIDS 22 was presented by Harry Winston and Bold Films. The Weinstein Company was Signature Sponsor. MoëtHennessy is amfAR’s Official Wine and Spirits Partner. Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of amfAR.
After the Cinema Against AIDS dinner, guests were invited to an exclusive After Party presented by Moncler featuring DJ Mark Ronson, whose latest hit “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars spent 14 consecutive weeks at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.
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 Campaign Chair Sharon Stone, President Bill Clinton, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Nicole Kidman, Robert De Niro, Sir Elton John, Demi Moore, and Madonna, among many others.
amfAR’s annual Cinema Against AIDS events have been important and successful fundraising events for the Foundation for over two decades, generating more than $140 million for amfAR’s life-saving research programs and keeping the fight against AIDS in the global media spotlight. amfAR continues to fund HIV/AIDS researchers worldwide, and works to translate their research into effective policy, prevention, and treatment education programs around the globe. Additionally, amfAR recently launched “Countdown to a Cure for AIDS,” a research initiative aimed at developing the scientific basis for a cure by 2020. “Countdown to a Cure” is designed to intensify amfAR’s cure-focused HIV research program with plans to strategically invest $100 million in cure research over the next five years.