James Franco is looking for $500,000 worth of backers via crowdfunding site Indiegogo to fund “Palo Alto Stories,” three feature films based on pieces from his short story collection about his hometown. The actor, director, artist and film professor has recruited four young helmers — Nina Ljeti, Vladimir de Fontenay, Bruce Thierry Cheung, and Gabrielle Demeestere — to adapt and direct “Memoria,” “Killing Animals” and “Yosemite,” fictional stories that are nonetheless based on Franco’s high school experiences in the wealthy Northern California town.
“It touches on universal things about being a teenager and coming-of-age and learning about the bigger world,” says Franco of the book in the teaser video. All proceeds from the film will go to the Art of Elysium, which enlists actors, artists and musicians to give their time to children battling serious medical conditions.
While projects such as the “Veronica Mars” movie and Zach Braff’s feature project have raised millions on Kickstarter thanks to rabid fan appeal, crowdfunding isn’t a sure thing even for thesps with established fanbases. With no guaranteed appearances by Franco in the movies (he’s awfully busy appearing in films like “This Is the End” and “Oz the Great and Powerful”), will Franco’s fans be willing to contribute $450 for a cell phone voicemail from him? Franco-philes will find out when the campaign closes on July 17.
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- James Franco