Cannes to host Haiti benefit event

Dinner-show to support Penn, Haggis, Nemcova relief orgs

PARIS The Cannes Film Festival will host a fund-raising gala in support of Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization, Paul Haggis’ Artists for Peace and Justice, and Petra Nemcova’s Happy Heart’s Fund on May 18.

The first such event since 1996, the Haiti: Carnival in Cannes gala will be presented by Giorgio Armani and will include dinner and music by the RAM band, which specializes in Haiti’s racine folk music.

Gala is in part a tribute to Penn, Haggis and Nemcova for their humanitarian activities, and also aims to help them bring sustainable programs to the Haitian people quickly and effectively.

Penn’s JP/HRO was created in the wake of 2010 Haitian earthquake, after his visit to the island. Haggis’ Artists for Peace and Justice dates from 2009, Happy Hearts from 2007.

Penn has a close association with Cannes, having served as 2008’s competition jury president, directed Palme d’Or contender “The Pledge” and acted in multiple Cannes films, most lately “Fair Game” and Palme d’Or winner “The Tree of Life.”

“Sean Penn is a good friend of the festival,” said Cannes delegate general Thierry Fremaux, adding, “and we are pleased to be a part of this evening, which intends to raise money and honor the Haitians themselves.”

In 1996, the fest held a special screening of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s “Elective Affinities” to aid the reconstruction of Venice’s Fenice Theater.

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