James Franco launches 'Palo Alto' film crowd-sourcing campaign

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James Franco has officially jumped on the crowd-sourcing bandwagon. The actor-writer-producer-director-student-artist-et cetera announced on Tuesday (June 18) that he is trying to raise $500,000 to fund three films based on his short-story compilation, "Palo Alto."

Using the crowd-sourcing site, Indiegogo, Franco has launched the "Palo Alto Stories" campaign, set to run through July 17. The project consists of three films: "Memoria," "Killing Animals" and "Yosemite," all based on stories in Franco's book.

Rewards and perks are being offered for those fans who donate to the campaign itself. From the lowest donation of $10 (for which a donor gets e-mail updates, a PDF script and the chance to feel generous) to the highest of $10,000 (an executive producer credit, an all-expenses trip to have dinner with Franco and various goodies), the "Palo Alto" campaign is hardly stingy.

With more than $28,000 raised within the first few hours (as of this writing), some fans are definitely responding to Franco's call.

But will the campaign be a success? Although "Veronica Mars" and Zach Braff's movie project got their funding easily, other campaigns have fallen short. "Palo Alto" does, however, have a few things in its favor:

  • James Franco is rather famous. He is also rather well-known for making odd choices work out. If Franco says he's making three movies, he's going to make three movies.
  • The films represent a chance for up-and-coming filmmakers Nina Ljeti, Vladimir Bourdeau, Bruce Thierry Cheung and Gabriel Demeestere to adapt and direct the movies. 
  • Profits from all of the films are being given to the Art of Elysium charity (which helps working artists volunteer time with seriously ill children).
  • Franco addresses the issue of crowd-funding vs. self-funding directly. "Because of who I am, people often believe that it is easy to find investors and distributors for my films," Franco states. "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."

Assuming the "Palo Alto" project gets its funding, the plan is to begin shooting all three films in Aug. 2013. Franco will submit them to film festivals in the fall.

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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