The Sunday rain downpours in Cannes didn’t destroy the mood at the annual Hollywood Foreign Press Association party here at Nikki Beach Sunday night where the HFPA donated $500,000 to Kailash Satyarthi Childrens Foundation , an organization dedicated to ending violence against
children and child labor around the world. Jury President Cate Blanchett joined HFPA President Meher Tatna in presenting the large check to Satyarthi , whose lifelong efforts in this regard won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. A new motion picture which premiered at Sundance ,where it won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize , will be shown in Cannes Tuesday, follows him in this mission and has been produced by Participant Media and Concordia. It is planned for a wide ranging release in the Fall. Participant’s David Linde told me the company expects to announce a distribution deal on the film soon. At an intimate dinner before the HFPA party Satyarthi expressed thanks to Participant for helping to get his message out. “You partnered with us and we partnered with you in so many ways, ” he said adding that he believes there is no problem in life that is born without a solution and expects to see an end to all of this in his lifetime, hopefully in the next 20 years or so . He noted that the numbers of children affected have already gone down from 260 million 15 years ago to 150 million today. That is still an astounding figure and the film is one way to put a human face on those statistics, the kind of socially conscioius movie Participant was created for.
The HFPA party (in association with Participant) was jammed as usual but perhaps reflecting on the general star presence so far at this 71st Cannes Fest, celebrity turnout was light. Those
attending included John Travolta , in town for a 40th anniversary Grease showing at the fest, along with drumming up interest in his film Gotti which is finally seeing a release in June after years of trying to get it made. Travolta introduced Tatna and pointed to the group’s large charitable contributions over the years. Also spotted was his wife, Kelly Preston, Michael Shannon (who helped launch his HBO film Farenheit 451 at the midnight screening MUCH earlier in the day), Michael Madsen, Kevin Connolly, and Topher Grace who is in both of the American competition entries ,Spike Lee’s BlackkKlansman premiering tonight , as well as a small role in Under The Silver Lake later this week. He plays the ever-controversial David Duke in BlackkKlansman, a role sure to garner lots of attention. I asked him if he talked to Duke at all in preparation for the film and he emphatically said no, saying he didn’t want to do anything that might legitimize Duke. From what I can tell from clips shown at Cinemacon this movie will certainly not do that.
Incidentally I asked HFPA members about the renewal of their NBC deal for the Golden Globes which lapsed and now has put them in a sort of free agent mode. Word is the television home of the Globes is still a work in progress. I doubt though NBC would want to let it get away.
Among those attending the earlier Participant dinner at Le Petit Paris Beach were Linde, Participant’s docu head Diane Weyermann, Cannes Artistic Director Thierry Fremaux, Andrew Vajna, Patrick Wachsberger, Tatna, former HFPA president Lorenzo Soria, Submarine’s Dan Braun, Tarak Ben Ammar, Capricorn Investment Group’s Dipender Saluja, Olivier Courson (an adviser to French President Macron), Bank Of America’s Jason Feuerstein, and British philanthropist Chris Hohn , who introduced Satyarthi.