Bono Headlines Haitian Fundraiser at Cannes Festival
The Festival de Cannes celebrated Haiti: Carnival in Cannes last night, a benefit event on Thierry Fremaux's initiative presented by Giorgio Armani in support of Sean Penn's J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO), Paul Haggis' Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) and Petra Nemcova's Happy Heart's Fund (HHF), for their united and extraordinary work in Haiti. The charities' unity reflects their collective belief that more can be accomplished by working in partnership than alone. This event is the first of its kind for the Festival de Cannes since holding benefit screenings in 1984 and 1996. Additionally, this is the first time that three charities have come together with the support of the festival for one very important cause. Preliminary calculations of money raised total over $2 million.
An A-list crowd – the sort only the Festival de Cannes can procure – joinEd Penn, Haggis and Nemcova to offer their support. Guests included Gerard Butler, Diane Kruger, Jessica Chastain, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Ewan McGregor, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tom Hardy, Robert De Niro, Sean Combs, Joshua Jackson, Harvey Weinstein and more. Event Chairs Giorgio Armani, Roberta Armani, CAA's Bryan Lourd, MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd and the Festival's own Thierry Frémaux were also in attendance. Singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett performed three songs for the intimate gathering. President of Haiti Michel Martelly gave a taped video speech in appreciation of the work of the three organizations led by Penn, Haggis and Nemcova.
A live auction took place and featured many once in a lifetime experiences and items for guests to bid on. The lot that grossed the most money came from an impromptu auction of Sean Penn – to spend three days on the ground with him in Haiti. The experience went to three bidders, paying $100,000 each. Bono's own guitar and a meet-and-greet with him backstage at one of his shows went for $168,000, while a lunch with a Victoria's Secret Angel – along with VIP access to their 2012 fashion show – sold for $90,000.
At the end of the evening, a Haitian show entitled "Carnival in Cannes" presented a concert of authentic RaRa and Racine music, created with the RAM band, Haiti's leading Racine group, brought in for the occasion from Haiti. Guests flocked to the stage as the entire room, including Petra Nemcova and Gerard Butler, began dancing in the aisles. The show was co-sponsored by Chopard.
Funds raised will benefit all three charities and help them bring sustainable programs to the Haitian people quickly and effectively. Today, all three individuals and their organizations are playing a vital and central role in rebuilding the nation of Haiti after the devastating earthquake in January of 2010.
About J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO):
Founded by Sean Penn, J/P HRO began its work just hours after the earthquake hit in January 2010. J/P HRO's goal is to help lift the nation of Haiti out of the rubble and give the Haitian people a better future. J/P HRO has become a leader in Haiti across multiple sectors working to improve living conditions in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and surrounding neighborhoods by clearing rubble, and providing medical services, education and enrichment programs, housing construction, and neighborhood redevelopment. J/P HRO's main objective remains to help displaced people get back to durable, safer, and permanent homes in revitalized neighborhoods. J/P HRO employs 1,200 people, more than 97% of whom are Haitians. To learn more: www.jphro.org.
About Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ):
Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) is a non-profit organization founded by Paul Haggis and friends in 2009 that encourages peace and social justice and addresses issues of poverty around the world. APJ's immediate goal is to serve children and their families in the poorest communities in Haiti by supporting programs focused on education, health and dignity through the Academy for Peace and Justice, the first free secondary school in Port-au-Prince. APJ donates 100% of public donations directly to its programs in Haiti. To learn more: www.apjnow.org.
About Happy Hearts Fund (HHF):
Founded by Petra Nemcova in 2006, Happy Hearts Fund is a non-profit foundation dedicated to rebuilding schools and restoring hope and opportunity in the lives of children after natural disasters. The organization concentrates its work during the period after emergency response is complete, implementing sustainable practices to ensure a lasting impact. Happy Hearts Fund has worked in a total of 14 countries since inception and is currently active in six countries; Thailand, Indonesia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Haiti. Globally HHF has built /rebuilt 57 schools and kindergartens and its programs have benefited more than 34,412 children and 337,450 community members. HHF has been active in Haiti since 2007, building schools and computer labs. To learn more please visit: www.happyheartsfund.