AmfAR gala raises $10 million, Cannes parties wind down

Fri May 20, 2011 6:06pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White and Douglas MacLaurin

CANNES, France (Reuters) - A glitzy charity gala near Cannes, where the film festival was drawing to a close, raised over $10 million late on Thursday, well up on 2009 as conspicuous consumption returned to the French Riviera.

Stars were out in force at this year's cinema showcase, both on land, where they ran the gauntlet of the world's media to get in, and at sea, where luxury yachts provided a more intimate setting for the pleasures of fine food, wine and music.

It was a marked change from 2010, when the hangover from the global financial crisis kept a lid on late-night revelry.

The annual amfAR "Cinema Against AIDS" dinner is one of the big dates on the party circuit, and was held again this year at the exclusive Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, a short drive from Cannes.

Among those who made the trip were film festival jury president Robert De Niro, Janet Jackson, Brooke Shields, Gwen Stefani, Donatella Versace, Sean Penn and Kanye West.

The event, held in a giant marquee in the grounds of the secluded seaside hotel, was in part a tribute to Elizabeth Taylor, the actress who died earlier this year and who was among the first celebrities to campaign about AIDS and HIV.

"At the very beginning she spoke up when others wouldn't, said things that others hadn't, and she was very bold and brave in stating her conviction," said amfAR chairman Kenneth Cole. "To a large degree we're where we are because of her," he added.

Jackson said Taylor had "lit the flame, and we must carry the torch in the fight against AIDS."   Continued...

<p>Actress Milla Jovovich performs during the amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS 2011 event in Antibes during the 64th Cannes Film Festival May 19, 2011. REUTERS/Yves Herman</p>