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Sun 14 Dec 2008 07:51 AM

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Dubai Film Festival auction raises $1.8mn for AIDS

Salma Hayek opened event by auctioning Cartier bracelet carrying her signature.

An auction of celebrity memorabilia on the sidelines of the Dubai International Film Festival raised $1.8 million for the fight against AIDS, the organisers announced on Saturday.

The funds collected for the benefit of the Foundation for AIDS Research (Amfar) included a gift of $500,000 from employees of Emirates group Pearl Dubai, a sponsor of the festival.

Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek opened the Friday evening auction by auctioning a Cartier bracelet carrying her signature, which sold for $80,000.

A rare portrait of Marilyn Monroe from 1962 with the signature of photographer Bert Stern, put into the auction by Goldie Hawn, was knocked down for $40,000.

The auction was staged on the second day of the festival, which began on Thursday with a screening of US director Oliver Stone's W, about President George W. Bush.

A total of 181 films from 66 countries will be shown during the event, running until next Thursday and seen by organisers as a showcase for world cinema.