We attended the 3rd annual Changemaker Gala along with Renée Zellweger, Christy Turlington-Burns, and more, part of the Greenwich International Film Festival.
It’s no wonder why the Changemaker Gala is regarded as the premier social event of the season in Greenwich, but no one could have guessed how quickly the event rocketed to the top of the social calendar, pulling guests from not just Greenwich, but NYC and beyond.
Only in its 3rd edition, the gala has secured its place as the must-attend event during the festival as the Changemaker Gala has become known as a space to honors artists who have used their public platform and film in a thoughtful and compelling way, in the interest of social change. Renée Zellweger and Christy Turlington-Burns were honored for their humanitarian work with ALS and Every Mother Counts, respectively.
The Changemaker event, presented by CuisinArt Resorts & Residences and ALS FindingACure, was no small or understated effort: it was a posh and endlessly chic moment: A warm summer evening in Greenwich, it was a scene of Hollywood glamour outside the gorgeous Betteridge jewelry shop as Zellweger and others snapped photos on the red carpet. The sun low in the sky, it was a golden hour.
Inside, socialites, filmmakers, influencers, models, and changemakers enjoyed a variety of passed hors d’oeuvres, champagne from Cartier, as well as a full caviar bar, serving fresh roe on seashells.
Guests were dressed to the nines in everything from vintage Cartier and Chanel to colorful Hermès scarves and Correges summer looks. No shortage of gowns of all shapes and sizes: guests looked downright regal and featherlight in pieces incorporating flowing chiffon, sheer, satin, linen, and more. Renée and Christy could be spotted around the rooms, enjoying conversation with the guests and friends of the festival.
Along charming Greenwich Avenue, Tesla SUVs lined up to drive guests the short distance to L’Escale (not before a brief puppy escape just a few feet from the red carpet), the storied Mediterranean hotspot posed along an inlet, opposite Field Point. Known to be a boat-in favorite, the Changemaker Gala took over the rear terrace and dining room. The taupe, tan, vanilla, and bone-colored affair offered just enough summertime flair along with some nautical notes, and, of course, the requisite fleet of Rolls Royces and Porsches just outside.
During a second cocktail hour, taking place on the waterfront terrace of L’Escale, guests enjoyed an opportunity to bid on a variety of items benefiting the charities of the night, ALS and Every Mother Counts. Items included a $40,000 getaway that includes a private jet, down to a $100 signed hockey jersey. To say there was “something for everyone” would be an understatement.
Guests settled into dinner slowly, and not before a red carpet at the restaurant, during which we spoke briefly with Renée who detailed her directorial debut. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity. I really appreciate the work that the ladies who founded the film festival are doing.” We asked some other questions, such as what she does to relax. Her answer was simple: “I run!”
Jenna Bush Hager was the master of ceremonies, who presented a number of awards through the night as guests enjoyed halibut and sirloin. The event went deep into the night, as new friends were made and donations extended- culminating in a last drink on the terrace, after finishing a divine cobbler.
Now we’re back in NYC, but happy to have taken part in the slice of Greenwich heaven. You can learn more about the Greenwich Film Festival here. It’s a multiway event that features the best in new film, as well as presentations of a number of awards through the course of the week. It runs June 1-4, 2017.