Sean Penn called for more support for Haiti during a Cannes Film Festival charity gala. He shared the stage with director Paul Haggis and supermodel Petra Nemcova. Among those in the audience that night were Ben Stiller, Diane Kruger, and MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd.
Actor Penn said that politics is a fucking smoke screen. He encouraged those present to shift their attention to rebuilding Haiti. He asked people to open both their hearts and wallets to Haitian relief efforts.
He declared that international support is important and as an American, he asked the United States to respect the nation’s culture and genius. He asked those present to bid high for the items in the auction. The first auction item is a Golden Globe weekend, which includes tickets to the award show, the CAA party, the Weinstein party, and two nights at the Montage. It received a bid of $90,000. This prompted director Haggis to return to the stage and added to the package a date with Gerard Butler. He then called Butler up to the stage. But even with date, there were no new bids. The auction ended going for $127,000 but without the date with Gerard Butler.
The final item up for bid was a three day trip to Haiti with Penn as a personal guide. Three bidders won by bidding $127,000 each.
This has been the first time that the Cannes Film Festival has been used to spotlight a cause not connected with a movie. The black-tie dinner tried to renew attention to the Caribbean country. Aside from Penn, Haggis, and Nemcova, designer Giorgio Armani co-hosted the event.
Penn said that the film festival is not just about films. He added that it is not a film when celebrities stand outside and have their photos taken for magazines.