amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Cheyenne Jackson, Kelly Rowland Help Raise More Than $1 Million for amfAR and Dignitas at Cinema Against AIDS Toronto

Event presented by Kenneth Cole Reaction, Rimmel London, and Sullivan Entertainment


Bennah Serfaty, Senior Director of Communications, amfAR, (212) 806-1607 or
Natalie Jacobs, Media Relations Coordinator, amfAR, (212) 806-1694 or

Toronto, Canada, September 13, 2010―Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, amfAR Ambassador Cheyenne Jackson, Kelly Rowland, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Ryan Kwanten, Dignitas co-founder Dr. James Orbinski, and amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole joined the Toronto community last night to raise more than $1 million at the second annual Cinema Against AIDS Toronto, benefitting amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and Dignitas International.  The event, held during the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, was co-sponsored by Kenneth Cole Reaction, Rimmel London, and Sullivan Entertainment.

More than 500 guests attended the black-tie gala at the acclaimed Carlu in Toronto for an evening that included cocktails, dinner, a luxury live auction, and performances by Broadway, film, and television star Cheyenne Jackson and the recently reunited band Ace of Base.

Legendary actor and dedicated human rights activist Martin Sheen chaired the event, along with his son, acclaimed actor and director Emilio Estevez.  Mr. Sheen opened the program by delivering a special message from Dame Elizabeth Taylor, amfAR’s founding international chairman, who praised the film and entertainment communities for the “courage, conviction, and grace” they’ve displayed in the fight against AIDS.  Mr. Sheen then revealed that the letter included a very personal note from Dame Elizabeth to him, which he declined to share with the audience, but he offered to put the letter up for auction.  After a guest bid $8,000 for the note, Mr. Sheen signed the letter for her on stage, “for no extra charge.”

Kelly Rowland also participated in the auction by modeling a Paloma Picasso-designed Tiffany & Co. set of earrings and a necklace.  While encouraging guests to bid higher on the set, Ms. Rowland announced that she would personally serenade the winning bidder.  After the package sold for $15,000, the five-time Grammy-winning singer made good on her promise and performed an impromptu acoustic version of her hit “When Love Takes Over.”

To close the auction, Cheyenne Jackson returned to the stage with Kenneth Cole and Dr. James Orbinski, who each spoke about the crucial advancements in HIV/AIDS research and treatment that could be made with just $2,000. Mr. Jackson then asked audience members to stand up and bid $2,000 each on Tiffany & Co. sterling silver bangles. Fifty guests stood up to pledge their support, raising a total of $100,000.

Other highlights of the auction included:

amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole auctioned off a New York Fashion Week package, which included highly coveted tickets to amfAR’s annual New York Gala, as well as exclusive tickets to prestigious fashion shows.  After a bidding war broke out between two guests, the package sold twice for a total of $36,000.

Martin Sheen introduced a print of Daniel Kramer’s iconic photograph of Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan Backlit on Stage, which raised $40,000.

Emilio Estevez auctioned off a Delta Jets package, an experience that will include flying in side-by-side ex-military fast jets, with an opportunity to take control of the aircraft.  The package was doubled for two bidders, selling for a total of $40,000. 

An all-inclusive luxury safari for 10 at the Royal Madikwe Luxury Safari Game Reserve in South Africa sold for $30,000.

Additional auction pieces were donated by Canadian artists Douglas Coupland and Bruno Billio.

The evening continued in the Carlu’s Round Room Lounge with an after-party sponsored by Hello! Canada. Celebrated R&B, soul, and house artist Martha Wash performed “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” and “It’s Raining Men.”  

In addition to Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, other event chairs of Cinema Against AIDS Toronto included Kenneth Cole, Linda Evangelista, Trudy Grant, Dr. James Orbinski, Heather Reisman, Julian Schnabel, Kevin Sullivan, Stanley Tucci, and Jeffrey Wagstaff.  Shinan Govani, Ciara Hunt, and Elisa Nuyten served as host committee chairs.

amfAR and Dignitas will share all proceeds from the event, funding that will benefit crucial AIDS research initiatives and efforts to improve the quality of life for those affected by HIV/AIDS. Over the years, amfAR has awarded 52 grants to HIV/AIDS organizations in Canada totaling more than US$2.6 million, making Canada the recipient of more amfAR funding than any country after the U.S. and Australia. Toronto-based Dignitas has been working in Africa since 2004 to increase access to life-saving HIV/AIDS-related prevention and treatment.

About amfAR
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment, education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than US$307 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.

About Dignitas International
Dignitas International is a humanitarian organization focused on dramatically increasing access to effective HIV/AIDS-related prevention, treatment, care, and support in resource-limited settings through medical programs and health systems strengthening. Founded and led by Dr. James Orbinski and James Fraser, both formerly of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders), Dignitas is sharing evidence-based research outcomes in an effort to influence policy and improve the international response to AIDS.

Additional sponsors for Cinema Against AIDS Toronto include CBC, Foss Cadillac, Grey Goose Vodka, Joe Fresh Style, and Magna International, Inc.

The Fairmont Royal York is the official hotel partner of Cinema Against AIDS Toronto.

amfAR recognizes American Airlines for its commitment to the fight against AIDS and its generous support of amfAR’s mission.