Monday, June 17, 2024

One Week Later, amFAR Provides No Accounting for Cannes Gala, Refuses to Respond to Queries


A week ago tonight, amFAR held its annual fundraiser in Cannes at the Hotel duCap Eden Roc. Since then, there has not been a word about how much the event made. In past years, amFAR has touted its total that night or the next morning. This year, despite queries to their PR director, there has been nothing. Almost.

The one statement made by the organization, mired in scandal, is that they made “more than last year.” Last year’s given number was $20 million. So far all we know about the 2018 Cinema Against AIDS is that roughly $5 million was reaped from three auction items. One of them was $1.5 million derived from a painting of Bob Dylan by former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan.

That last item is a curiosity. Brosnan paints for a hobby. He has no track record of sales. Even in the overheated international market, one million dollars is a lot of money. You can buy a name painter for less money. So I’d put a red circle around that one.

This year’s Cinema Against AIDS had far less star power than ever before thanks to scandals involving the ouster of Harvey Weinstein and the resignation of Kenneth Cole. Brosnan was the biggest star to attend the event. There was no Sharon Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio, etc. Even Cate Blanchett, head of the jury, skipped the whole thing. Kristen Stewart stopped by for a photo op.

amFAR continues to be weighed down by its own hubris. CEO Kevin Frost makes $600,000 a year. The rest of the staff commands very high salaries. amFAR thrives on parties and celebrities, undercutting its original purpose.

So we wait to see if they will give a figure for this year’s event– or any event. All we can really trust is their annual tax filing. But the one for 2017 has yet to be published. For this year, it will be 18 months until we see what they tell the US government.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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