Celebrity

Nadia’s Cannes Diary: Part 5—Milla Jovovich Hosts For Haiti, and Ryan Gosling's Drive For The Win?

Actress and director Nadia Litz says good bye to Cannes at a star-studded party in support of Haiti.

Kirsten Dunst’s loss is Ryan Gosling’s gain.  
In the wake of Lars Von Trier’s press conference comments about sympathizing with Nazis and Adolf Hitler, festival organizers have pulled his film Melancholia from the running for the Palme D’Or. The director himself has been banned from the festival entirely-–the first ban applied to a director in the history of the festival. Now it seems a film with a Canadian connection is touted to take the top prize.  
Danish director Nichloas Refn Winding’s Drive starring everybody’s top prize Ryan Gosling has emerged from the ashes of Von Trier-gate as the front-runner for the prestigious Palme.
A top programmer at TIFF tells me Drive, which also stars the always endearing Carey Mulligan, is his favourite film of the festival, boding well for a win.  
May I suggest speaking as little as possible in any press conference to solidify the win, Mr. Winding?
My final night in Cannes is spent on the top floor of the exclusive Hotel Martinez. The auction to raise money for APJ feels more like a gathering of 75 close philanthropic friends, all of whom are very rich or very famous (Peter Fonda to my right!).  
Artists for Peace and Justice, founded by Canadian-born director and Academy Award winner Paul Haggis, has a mandate to bring money directly to the people of Haiti whose lives were displaced by the 2010 earthquake. Money is well spent on food and necessities as well as education (the foundation has already built two schools).  
Despite the incongruity of the posh setting and the cause for which we are there, it is clear within minutes that everyone is putting their money where their heart is.  
Host Milla Jovovich pledges $10,000 for a Chopard watch in the first bid and Karolina Kurkova’s husband, Archy Drury, bids the highest–$115,000-–for an original Mark Evan’s work. In total, the night raises $440,500.
As I stand nervously voyeuring the evening, swaying to Naughty By Nature’s “OPP” and gawking at Kurkova’s backless ensemble I think, I am far out of my element.  That is, until the affable helm of APJ himself approaches me. “We’ve met before!” he says. Back in the summer, Mr. Haggis and I met for seconds during a photo op. at the Canadian Film Centre barbeque during TIFF. He asks me again about my short film that he recalls me making (wow!), before getting to the business of raising awareness and big money for Haiti.
His foundation partner David tells me that APJ is expanding to Canada. He is so passionate about making a difference in Haiti that by the end of the conversation I sign myself and my boyfriend up to teach in a film school APJ has built in Haiti (with promises to recruit Don McKellar and Sarah Polley as well).  

It’s a fitting way to leave Cannes: knowing that the over-the-top luxury lifestyle of the festival can be used to give back.  

And now to the luxury of my bed for some well deserved shut-eye.  I need to get back to the business of making movies, instead of living them, now….

Nadia Litz is a Canadian actress. Her directorial debut, the short How To Rid Your Love of A Negative Emotion Caused By You! is screening at Cannes. Read more of her Cannes adventures