amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Kathy Griffin, Kim Cattrall, John Legend Help Raise $800,000 for amfAR and Dignitas International at Cinema Against AIDS Toronto

Event co-sponsored by Rimmel London, Marc Jacobs Fragrances, and Vera Wang Lovestruck



Bennah Serfaty, Senior Director of Communications, amfAR, (212) 806-1607 or 

Toronto, Canada, September 12, 2011―Kathy Griffin, Kim Cattrall, John Legend, amfAR Ambassador Cheyenne Jackson, musician Howie D, Brian Cox, Scott Porter, Yasmine Warsame, Dignitas International co-founder Dr. James Orbinski, and amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole joined the Toronto community last night to raise $800,000 at the third annual Cinema Against AIDS Toronto, benefiting amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and Dignitas International.  The event, held during the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, was co-sponsored by Rimmel London, Marc Jacobs Fragrances, and Vera Wang Lovestruck.

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 nine-time Grammy Award-winning musician John Legend.

Multiple Emmy-winning comedian and performer Kathy Griffin hosted the event.  The attendees were delighted by her performance and appreciated her dedication to the cause.

amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole spoke about the extraordinary recent advances in AIDS research, while Dignitas International Chairman Dr. Michael Schull highlighted his organization’s work in increasing access to HIV/AIDS treatment and care in developing countries. 

Special tribute was paid to amfAR’s late Founding International Chairman, Dame Elizabeth Taylor.  Dame Elizabeth was also commemorated in the live auction, when an original Arnold Scaasi dress once owned and worn by the legendary actress sold for $20,000.

Event chair and actress Kim Cattrall presented an auction package titled "A Day of Diamonds and a Night of Theater.” The package included a private backstage meet and greet with Ms. Cattrall, tickets to her play Private Lives and a $10,000 private shopping spree at Tiffany & Co. Cattrall, who actively engaged the crowd during the auction of the package, also agreed to have dinner with the winning bidder and the lot was sold for $16,000. Immediately following the auction of this package, a second group of attendees pledged $30,000 if Cattrall would consent to a private meet and greet with them after the play. Ms. Cattrall graciously obliged. 

A package that included a weekend stay in the Fairmont Royal York, dinner for two at Scarpetta at the Thompson Hotel, tickets to Kathy Griffin’s upcoming show in Toronto and a post-show meet and greet sold twice for $20,000 apiece when Griffin agreed to dine with the winning bidders. 

John Legend closed out the night with four songs including his hits “Redemption Song” and “Ordinary People,” and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

In addition to Kim Cattrall, Kenneth Cole, and Dr. James Orbinski, other Cinema Against AIDS Toronto event chairs included Mary Van Praag and Vincent Roberti.

Dr. Mathilde Krim, amfAR’s Founding Chairman, and Vanessa Redgrave were honorary chairs of the event.  Shinan Govani and Ciara Hunt served as host committee chairs.

amfAR and Dignitas International will share all proceeds from the event, which will support 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 International has been working in Africa since 2004 to increase access to life-saving HIV/AIDS-related prevention and treatment.

Additional sponsors for Cinema Against AIDS Toronto include Foss Cadillac and Tiffany & Co.

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

amfAR recognizes Delta Air Lines  for its commitment to the fight against AIDS and its generous support of amfAR's mission.

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 nearly US $325 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.