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James Franco seeks $500K to bankroll movies

James Franco appears in a still image from an Indiegogo video clip, which promotes fund raising to bankroll a trilogy of films based on Franco's 2011 short story collection, 'Palo Alto.' (www.indiegogo.com)
June 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
James Franco is trying to raise $500,000 to bankroll a trilogy of movies, following the crowd-funding success stories of "Veronica Mars" and Zach Braff.

Monday night, Franco began a campaign on Indiegogo, a crowd-funding alternative to Kickstarter that allows people to keep the money they raise even if the project doesn't come to fruition. Franco is not planning to direct the films. Instead, he's raising money so that a group of young filmmakers can adapt his 2011 short story collection, "Palo Alto."

"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 said he would donate any profits from the films to Art of Elysium, a nonprofit that encourages entertainers to visit children with serious medical conditions. Contributions can range from $10 for copies of the screenplays to $10,000, which gets dinner with Franco and an executive producer credit.

The three films, named "Memoria," ''Yosemite" and "Killing Animals," will pull from stories Franco wrote about his California hometown. Directing will be done by Bruce Thierry Cheung, Gabrielle Demeestere, Nina Ljeti and Vladimir de Fontenay, all current or former students from New York University, where Franco attended the film program.

Franco, who currently stars in the comedy "This Is the End," has directed a number of feature films. He premiered his William Faulkner adaptation "As I Lay Dying" at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

The campaign did not immediately take off like those did for "Veronica Mars" and Braff's film. As of late Tuesday morning, it had pulled in $22,000, with 30 days to go before the campaign closes on July 17.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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