Cinema for Gaza raises $155,000 so far, with items from Ramy Youssef, Paul Mescal and more

Proceeds from the auction will go to Medical Aid for Palestinians, a British charity that offers medical services in Gaza

From left, Paul Mescal, Maisie Williams, Ramy Youssef and Olivia Colman have lots in the Cinema for Gaza auction. Getty Images; SNL
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Celebrity gifts and donations continue to pour in for the Cinema for Gaza auction, which has so far raised more than $150,000.

The online auction, organised by a group of UK filmmakers and journalists, includes several lots from big-ticket names in the industry, including a chance to have Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton "read you a soothing bedtime story over Zoom" or a hardcover copy of Julia Quinn's Romancing Mr Bridgerton signed by Irish star Nicola Coughlan.

Proceeds from the auction will go to Medical Aid for Palestinians, a British charity that offers medical services in Gaza, where more than 33,200 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's bombardment of the enclave.

More recent donations have come over the weekend, including items from Spike Lee, Paul Mescal and Olivia Colman. Both Lee and Mescal are auctioning off signed posters of Malcolm X and Aftersun respectively, while the Oscar-winning The Crown actress is offering a personalised video message.

There are also items from Jonathan Glazer, the director of German-language film The Zone of Interest, including signed posters of the film. The English film director and screenwriter made headlines last month when he mentioned the Gaza conflict in his acceptance speech at the 96th Academy Awards.

Other big names in the auction pile is Maisie Williams, best known as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, who has donated a signed DVD of the hit series. There is also the handwritten lyrics to Sweet Dreams by Scottish singer-activist Annie Lennox, which has one of the highest bids at the time of writing at $9,746.

Memorabilia aside, many of the auction lots involve time and effort for the participating celebrities – whether it's an all-things astrology Zoom session with Aimee Lou Wood who plays Aimee Gibbs in Sex Education or a dinner with Cannes-winning Belgian film director and screenwriter Lukas Dhont in Ghent. A cup of tea on Zoom with Stranger Things actor Joseph Quinn currently has the highest bid, at $12,024 in the auction.

The auction also attracts budding television and film professionals with lots involving mentorship sessions with the likes of Hawkeye director Katie Ellwood, Bafta winner Shane Meadows and comedian Nish Kumar.

There's also a chance to join a writer's room, or a tutorial on how to make the "perfect porridge" by The Crown star Josh O'Connor. Beloved comedian Ramy Youssef has donated a ticket to his live show, with access to an after-party, plus a meet-and-greet opportunity.

The auction comes as fans put pressure on their celebrity idols to speak out about real-world issues.

"We believe that art and politics are inextricably linked and are called to act in word and deed to help those subjected to unspeakable horrors across the occupied Palestinian territory," said Cinema For Gaza organisers Hanna Flint, Julia Jackman, Leila Latif, Sophie Monks Kaufman and Helen Simmons.

"Cinema For Gaza is a passionate, inclusive fund-raising space powered by the generosity of people from all corners of the film industry who will not stand idly by while Palestinians are dehumanised and attacked with impunity."

Updated: April 09, 2024, 12:52 PM