James Franco seeks $500,000 in crowd-funding

Following in the footsteps of recent sucessful celebrity crowd-funding campaigns from “Veronica Mars” and Zach Braff, the modern-day Renaissance man James Franco is trying to raise $500,000 to bankroll a trilogy of movies.

Interstingly, Franco decided to choose the crowd funding platform Indiegogo instead of the more mainstream Kickstarter. Indiegogo’s main difference is that the organiser is allowed to keep the money even if the project doesn’t reach it’s target. Franco is still pledging to put money in himself but this seems like a great way to raise awareness of the project and the youngsters involved.

“Because of who I am, people often believe that it is easy to find investors and distributors for my films,” wrote Franco. “Unfortunately, things aren’t that easy. More times than not, I have put in my own money to produce my films and my student’s films. However, this time it’s different. We need more funding, I will still fund part of it but I need of your help, filming three feature films back-to-back requires more funding than I can give.”

Franco isn’t going to direct these films himself; he’s raising money so that a group of young filmmakers can adapt his 2011 short story collection, “Palo Alto.” The three films — titled “Memoria,” ”Yosemite” and “Killing Animals” — will pull from stories Franco wrote about his California hometown. Directing will be Bruce Thierry Cheung, Gabrielle Demeestere, Nina Ljeti and Vladimir de Fontenay, all of whom are current or former students from New York University, where Franco attended the film program.

Not only is Franco supporting young filmmaking talent, if any of the films make a profit, Franco pledges to donate the profit to the Art of Elysium, a nonprofit that encourages entertainers to visit children with serious medical conditions.
Levels of contribution range from $10 for copies of the screenplays to $10,000, which gets dinner with Franco and an executive producer credit.

So far the campaign has raised $43,000 with 29 days to go before the campaign closes on July 17.

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