Dubai Film Fest: Mark Ruffalo, Rooney Mara Helm Charity Gala Dinner

Rooney Mara Dubai Film Fest Arrivals - P 2013
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Rooney Mara Dubai Film Fest Arrivals - P 2013

"It felt like a really fitting way to remember him and pay tribute to him," said Naomie Harris of the festival’s "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" the night before. "It was great to have so many people turn out."

DUBAI -- Rooney Mara, Mark Ruffalo and Naomie Harris added a splash of star power to the Dubai Film Festival’s annual charity gala dinner, One Night to Change Lives, held in collaboration with Oxfam to raise money for the crisis in Syria.

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Mara, who attended the same event last year, was once again making a flying visit to the city, saying she hadn’t had enough time to see any of the films screening at the festival, now in its 10th edition.

"I haven’t even been to the top of that," she said pointing to the 830-meter-tall Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower that provided the spectacularly looming backdrop to the evening. "But I am actually scared of heights."

Ruffalo -- in attendance with wife Sunrise Coigney --- was another brief guest, saying he was flying back to the U.S. immediately following the event, reportedly to attend his daughter’s Christmas pageant.

"We’re here to support Oxfam and the two million refugees in Lebanon," he told reporters, adding that he chose the charity because of its low overheads. “It’s one of the best-run charities. No one does it better than Oxfam. I'm hoping we'll break the $2 million barrier tonight."

Ruffalo said that he was presenting one of the auction items, flights and tickets to the premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, courtesy of his "dear friend" and Avengers co-star Scarlett Johansson. He read out a letter from Johansson urging him to use his "handy wit and charm to make all my begging to Marvel worth it." The prize eventually went for $50,000.

Among the other items up for auction were a Bond-themed Aston Martin Vanquish (which was sold for $430,000) and a clapperboard used on the set of Skyfall ($25,000).

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Continuing the 007 theme was Harris, breaking the mold by staying in Dubai more than one day, having attended the festival’s gala screening of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom the night before. As the event coincided with Nelson Mandela’s memorial in South Africa, organizers paid tribute to the statesman by keeping the screening a low-key affair, with candles instead of the usual bright lights on the carpet and no press.

"It felt like a really fitting way to remember him and pay tribute to him," Harris said. "It was great to have so many people turn out."