Gillian is in Cannes
Posted at 1:11 PM (PDT) on Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cannes Film Festival kicks off

Stars get cheery welcome from fans, media
By John Hopewell

Sean Penn received the first big artistic cheer of the 61st Cannes Film Festival after he was introduced on the steps of the Palais Wednesday night.

A cheery international atmosphere filled the warm evening air as "Blindness" director Fernando Meirelles and cast members Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Gael Garcia Bernal and Danny Glover greeted the fans and photographers

Among the celebs on hand were Cate Blanchett, Mischa Barton, Dennis Hopper, Claude Lelouche, Eva Longoria Parker, Faye Dunaway, Gillian Anderson, and Petra Nemcova along with jury members Nathalie Portman, Alexandra Maria Lara, Jeanne Balibar, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Alfonso Cuaron.

After Penn delivered his opening remarks, singer-guitarist Richie Havens made a surprise appearance to perform "Freedom," a tune he famously performed at Woodstock 39 years ago.

"I was surprised and honored to be invited," Havens told Variety Wednesday afternoon. "Sean has been talking a lot about how he is a fan of the song and connects emotionally with it. It's about getting everyone on the same side of the aisle."

The film How To Lose Friends and Alienate People, directed by Robert B. Weide and starring Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox, Jeff Bridges, and Gillian Anderson, is being promoted during the festival, kicking off with a celebrity-packed party.

Thanks to Marie, Gilly, Philiater and Ericka!