The Cannes Film Festival announced today that it will host a special fundraiser in support of three celeb-led Haiti charities: Sean Penn’s J/P HRO, Paul Haggis’s Artists for Peace and Justice and Petra Nemcova’s Happy Hearts Fund. The gala event — called Haiti: Carnival in Cannes — will center on a fundraising dinner held May 18 at the Festival Agora. Proceeds raised will benefit all three organizations, which work to support Haiti in the wake of the island’s devastating 2010 earthquake. (The first two were founded after the quake; Nemcova’s org began working in Haiti in 2007.)
Penn is a Cannes mainstay; he has presented several films at the festival, and he served as President of the Jury in 2008. “People say that a great actor is by nature egocentric, and that a great director is focussed on his art. Sean Penn is both a great actor and director,” current festival president Gilles Jacob said in a statement. “What he does above and beyond that for the people and the land of Haiti, giving freely of himself, his abiding presence, his work -– one could almost say the work of his own hands -– his whole discreet, human, moral and altruistic involvement as a benefactor, commands our greatest respect.”
“I am proud to stand alongside Sean Penn, a man cut from a very rare cloth,” added Cannes veteran Giorgio Armani. “He first captivated me as an astonishing actor. Then as a respected director. Then as a loyal friend. And now, as a life changer.