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Confirmed: Sean Penn Goes to Cannes, for Haiti Benefit

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 3, 2012 at 11:03AM

Cannes Fest Director Thierry Fremaux was right when he suggested that Sean Penn would show in Cannes 2012. Sure enough, he's coming, not with his fall film "Gangster Squad," but as part of a first-of-its kind Carnival in Cannes benefit gala dinner on May 18 at the Festival Agora to raise money for three Haiti organizations:
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Sean Penn in Haiti in 2010.
NY Times Magazine Sean Penn in Haiti in 2010.

Cannes Fest Director Thierry Fremaux was right when he tweeted that Sean Penn would show in Cannes 2012. Sure enough, he's coming, not with his fall film "Gangster Squad," but as part of a first-of-its kind Carnival in Cannes benefit gala dinner on May 18 at the Festival Agora presented by Giorgio Armani to raise money for three Haiti organizations: Penn's J/P HRO, Canadian filmmaker Paul Haggis’ Artists for Peace and Justice, and Czech model Petra Nemcova’s Happy Heart’s Fund. Today, all three are playing a key part in rebuilding the island nation thrown into chaos by a 2010 earthquake.

Penn has been winning well-deserved plaudits for his work (here's his latest speech), so a trip to the Riviera is icing on the cake. The Festival de Cannes is hosting the gala fund raising event, co-sponsored by Chopard. The entertainment: the Haitian show “Carnival in Cannes." a concert of RaRa and Racine music from Haiti's Racine RAM band.

Back in 1984 Cannes did throw a benefit screening of Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America" to benefit the Institut Pasteur, and the 1986 screening of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s film "Elective Affinities," to support reconstruction of the Fenice.

Penn is tight with Cannes, having served as president of the 2008 Fest jury and attended with several competition films, including his own "The Pledge" in 200 in Un Certain Regard, and last year's "This Must Be the Place" and the Palme d'Or-winning "The Tree of Life."

This article is related to: Sean Penn, Cannes, Festivals, Festivals, Cannes Film Festival


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.