amFAR Gala Brings Out The Very Rich Glamour Crowd Showing The Flip Side Of The Cannes Film Festival

amFAR’s glamorous annual event tied to the Cannes Film Festival always has been a highpoint in turning out the fashion looks we associate with the Riviera event. It adds to the mystique of the festival and helps set it apart from others. This year was no different in that regard — but completely different in another. The event, now known as amFAR Gala Cannes, previously was called Cinema Against AIDS as a way of directly tying into the festival itself, and when Harvey Weinstein was a key poster boy for the event he made sure the stars and jury members always found their way to the Hotel du Cap in Antibes for this huge event, and before that at Moulin des Mougins nearby before it grew even bigger.

Those coming in search of some hot outfits and elaborate get-ups would not be disappointed, but the big movie star turnout we saw so often in the past was a little more muted, just like general attendance this year at the festival. Even though they are in town the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Sylvester Stallone were nowhere to be found. “Oh my god, you’re here! A person from the movie world,” said one well-known film executive when I strolled up to him at the reception. Still there were plenty of opportunities for splashy photos that amFAR could put out there, all for a great cause as the crowd was reminded, when Elizabeth Taylor and Mathilde Krim were making sure it got the publicity it needed.

Over the past quarter century over $200 million has been raised from this event so the fact that some lesser, but nicely dressed, luminaries were hogging the spotlight this time can be forgiven. Pamela Anderson, Kris and Kendall Jenner, Adrien Brody, Antonio Banderas (getting raves for his performance in Pedro Almodovar’s Pain And Glory, a best actor Cannes awards contender), Milla Jovovich, Henry Golding, Andie MacDowell, Rebel Wilson, and Eva Longoria were some of the bigger names in attendance (Longoria has been on every red carpet imaginable for the past two weeks, hired to be L’Oreal’s Ambassador to Cannes this year), mingling with Europe’s high rollers who come to party and bid on big ticket auction items like a 1975 painting by Andy Warhol of Mick Jagger that was signed by both; a Myanmar adventure with explorer Johan Ernst Nilson; and an Alpine Chalet Adventure with Champion Freeride skier Manu Gaidet. It is all the stuff of lifestyles of the rich and famous, and many of the people in attendance (most instantly unrecognizable but dressed to the nines) can afford to bid without even thinking about it. Among the items going for over $1 million this year were the “We Can Be Heroes” fashion show collection curated by Carine Roitfield consisting of 35 different women’s, and for the first time, men’s styles, (the wealthy woman who won it brought her entire table up on stage to stand with the models).

A Vita X Electric Powerboat that was sold on a video presentation as something James Bond would have, went for $1.1 million. Chopard watches and earrings sold for $150,000, while a Naked Perfection motorcycle by Lewis Hamilton also went for $150,000. My favorite of all was a tour of some famous monasteries in Greece, and the prize was able to be duplicated as two separate bidders got the trip for $300,000 each. This was possible said veteran auctioneer Simon De Pury because the owner has a great “relationship with the monks”. Then since Disney is taking over everything these days, an 8½-foot-tall Bianco Carrara marble sculpture of Mickey Mouse holding a very real-looking goldfish in a bag went for $450,000. I almost bid. I love me some Mickey Mouse collectibles. When I get the final total this year’s event raised I will update this post.

Entertainment was provided by Dua Lipa, the very loud band The Struts, legendary Sir Tom Jones singing 3 tunes including of course “It’s Not Unusual”, and headliner Mariah Carey, flying in from Dublin where she was performing the night before. Sony Pictures Classics Presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard told me they were attending for the first time in over a decade and were very happy to have two films they brought to the official competition, Pain And Glory, and Ira Sachs’ Frankie, and now a third with their pickup of Thursday night’s premiering Italian competition film, The Traitor, as Deadline reported exclusively while the amFAR dinner was going on. I spotted Bernard sneaking out after Tom Jones sang. “I have to go buy another movie,” he said. Welcome to Cannes.


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