HFPA Honors the International Rescue Committee at 70th Cannes Film Festival

by Ana Maria Bahiana May 22, 2017
Jake Gyllenhaal, Lorenzo Soria and IRC representative at the HFPA event at Cannes 2017

A big check for a great cause: Jake Gyllenhaal and HFPA president Lorenzo Soria present the Association's donation to Elinor Raikes, Regional Representative of the IRC Europe, at the annual HFPA party in Cannes.

george pimentel/hfpa

“The P in HFPA stands for press, but it could also stand for philanthropy”, said HFPA president Lorenzo Soria in his opening remarks on Sunday, May 21, at the Association’s annual Cannes party. This year the event served as a benefit for the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a nonprofit organization that responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people who have been devastated by conflict and disaster, to which the HFPA donated $500,000.

The IRC is indeed a befitting choice for the soon-to be 75-year-old Association, which came into being at a time of war and displacement, and today represents more than 56 countries and a readership of 500 million from all continents.

“We have donated nearly 30 million dollars to organizations ranging from Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation which protects and preserves motion picture history -- to scholarships for private and public universities -- to programs for underrepresented students from around the world with a passion for the arts”, Soria continued. “Tonight, we shift our philanthropic efforts to another organization that responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises. From Syria to Nigeria, from East Africa to Afghanistan, more people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time since World War II -- 65 million to be exact. That is why this year we are honored to lend our support to the International Rescue Committee.”

With the HFPA Cannes headquarters – the Nikki Beach club across the Croisette from the Carlton Hotel- transformed into a luxurious Riviera lounge, guests like Tilda Swinton, , Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Thompson, Lily Collins, Jeremy Renner, Dustin Hoffman,  Adam Sandler, Paul Dano,  and top executives such as  Jim Gianopulos (Paramount Pictures), Terry Press (CBS Films), Tom Bernard (Sony Pictures Classics), Ted Sarandos and Scott Stuber (Netflix), Bob Berney, Vicky Eguia, Molly Albright and Jason Ropell (Amazon ) and many others.

Jake Gyllenhaal served as the event’s MC accepted the donation on behalf of the IRC, which will go towards programs supporting refugees in greatest need.

Elinor Raikes, Regional Representative of the IRC Europe, thanked the HFPA for their support. “We find ourselves on the front lines of the greatest refugee crisis across the world that we’ve faced in decades. Here in Europe, the IRC is helping people whose lives have been shattered, to recover and regain control of their future. Whether they are stranded due to border closures in Greece and the Balkans or applying for asylum in a country like Germany, they're trying to find their feet, find a school and job, and settle into a new home. This generous donation will go a long way in supporting individuals and families like these seeking safety on our shores."