TURNING OUT FOR LEO: Where else if not on the French Riviera would movie stars, artists and billionaires want to gather to spend money for a good cause — especially if the invite has been sent from Leonardo DiCaprio’s desk?
Following in the footsteps of amfAR, which has successfully raised research funds to fight HIV and AIDS during the Cannes Film Festival, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, or LDF, is building its own tradition, staging its second annual auction gala in Saint-Tropez today.
Last year, a walk-on role in one of DiCaprio’s upcoming films sold twice for $2.4 million, while Bono’s personal guitar went for $1 million, following the singer’s live performance at the event.
All proceeds go directly to LDF’s environmental protection programs.
“Over the past year, we have expanded our conservation, public advocacy and direct-support programming to help preserve and protect wildlife in nearly every corner of our planet, but there is still much work to be done,” DiCaprio said in a statement. “Today, only 12 percent of natural wild lands receive formal protection, and that number is drastically smaller for our oceans, which stands at less than 2 percent.”
The foundation, which the star set up in 1998, is engaged in more than 70 projects across the globe, including the Elephant Crisis Fund and The Solutions Project to accelerate the transition to renewable energies.
The lots to be put under the hammer tonight are to include art, luxury items and “once-in-a-lifetime experiences” such as a one-on-one match with Roger Federer; an arctic expedition with Albert II Prince of Monaco; a backstage visit at Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour in 2016; a seat next to David Beckham in his private box at the Wembley Stadium during an English national team soccer game — and, for the first and only time, an eco-friendly estate home on DiCaprio’s private island in Belize.
Grammy Award winner John Legend is set to hop on stage for entertainment, in addition to special appearances by the likes of Marion Cotillard, Kate Hudson and Elton John, who are chairing this year’s event, cosponsored by Chopard, Giorgio Armani and Swiss banking group Julius Baer.