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CANNES: Elizabeth Taylor Remembered As amFAR Sets New Record

Pete Hammond

The late Elizabeth Taylor was fondly remembered during a tribute Thursday night at the ultra-glamorous  annual amFAR Cinema Against AIDS event (now in its 18th year) at Hotel Du Cap. The event co-chaired by Kenneth Cole and Harvey Weinstein broke all records, bringing in a haul of more than $10 million after an auction that also saw record prices. In clips from movies like Cleopatra and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, along with footage from her work for the organization in which she was the founding international chairman and host of the first event in 1993  Cole saluted Taylor as someone who “spoke up when others wouldn’t and said things when others can’t. I hope this will always be part of her legacy.” Weinstein added, “It was an honor to work beside her and it was an honor to watch her movies.”

Continuing the Taylor theme of the evening, two “Elizabeth” items went for big bucks in the annual auction that is always a part of this glitzy dinner, thrown near the end of each Cannes Film Festival since ’93. A limited-edition Herb Ritts photo of Taylor taken in Malibu in 1991 fetched a whopping $150,000, while an Andy Warhol dated lithograph of Liz circa 1964 fetched $400,000.

Among the stars taking part in the evening and auction were Janet Jackson, Brooke Shields, Freida Pinto, Kanye West, Rosario Dawson, Naomi Campbell, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Patrick Dempsey, Milla Jovovich (who opened the proceedings with a sultry “I Wanna Be Loved By You”), Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn and Sean Penn. Penn, bringing up the rear, got big laughs demanding women abstain from sex unless their men cough up $10,000 apiece in order to break the record amount for the fundraiser. Twenty-one of them did just that. Boy George performed a couple of songs, too. Among those in the crowd were three Cannes jury members including president Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman (who also participated in the auction) and Jude Law, along with Melancholia star Kirsten Dunst, who looked happy not to have Lars von Trier as her date. Read More »

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CANNES: Offshore Distributor Alliance Bought Double What It Expected

By | Monday May 16, 2011 @ 8:08am PDT
Mike Fleming

Much of my Cannes coverage has focused on the ferocious bidding battles among American distributors for films like The Wettest County, The Iron Lady and Looper. Even though DVD is still in the toilet and nobody can quite say why the business has rebounded, there seems to be enthusiasm in all quarters. Both offshore distributors and sellers are having a rip roaring good time here. How good? I’ll focus on Alliance Films as an example and Xavier Marchand, who as president of worldwide distribution for Alliance is buying pictures for its distribution companies in Canada (Alliance and Alliance Vivafilm), UK (Momentum Pictures), and Spain (Aurum Producciones).

He has closed 14 films, twice what he and chairman Victor Loewy expected. Marchand thought it might get busier than in past years, when he was sent a dozen scripts to read the weekend before flying here and found many of the late entries to be tantalizing. He surmises this could be an exceptionally strong year because studios are so tent-pole obsessed they’ve put in turnaround scripts that fall a cut below. They drew strong casts, and four of them have $100 million price tags: Relativity’s Snow White, Pompeii, Ender’s Game and Cloud Atlas. Whether it’s that or the strengthening economy that has brought new money to the table, he and other distributors have been feasting on projects, many sold on the basis of scripts … Read More »

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