Fresh off his William Faulkner adaptation "As I Lay Dying," which just had its premiere at Cannes (go HERE for our review), James Franco has just launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for $500,000 to make a trilogy of feature films based on short stories in his first book (Yes! He wrote a book; there's lots of reminders on the page!).
After Kickstarter celeb successes from "Veronica Mars" and Zach Braff, Shemar Moore and Melissa Joan Hart both launched campaigns that had to be cancelled for lack of support (It should be noted that unlike "Mars" creator Rob Thomas and Braff, Hart and Moore weren't really the creators of their projects.) Moore shifted his campaign to Indiegogo which allows for "flexible funding," a funding arrangement that doesn't require you meet your fundraising goal but allows Indiegogo to take a larger cut. It's also a feature that is unavailable on Kickstarter, so we could be seeing more of these celebs who could probably find the money elsewhere on the platform that allows for a less embarrassing failure.
Franco's book, "Palo Alto" is about the California town of the same name that he grew up in.
He'll be working with NYU classmates Nina Ljeti, Vladimir Bourdeau, Bruce Thierry Cheung, and Gabrielle Demeestere to adapt and direct three different feature films: "Memoria," "Killing Animals," and "Yosemite."
Profits from the films will all be donated to a charity, The Art of Elysium, that sends working artists into hospitals.
The synopses for the three films, excerpted from the Indiegogo page:
"Memoria" tells the story of Ivan Cohen, an anti-social, self-conscious boy living in the suburbs of Palo Alto, California. Unlike most kids in Palo Alto, Ivan comes from a working class family. Unable to get along with his mother and his step-father at home, Ivan retreats to a world of military combat in the confines of his bedroom, dreaming of his Russian military father who left him before he was born. Ivan’s friends are part of a very small subculture of punks and skateboarders in Palo Alto.
"Killing Animals" a mischievous, intimate look at teenagers in the 1990s. The world is Palo Alto, a safe and comfortable suburb in California. We follow a group of restless kids that yearn to escape to the night streets to feel powerful, to the outskirts of the city to feel adventurous. The film jumps between their innocent wide-eyed days as 12 year olds and their more alienated and disillusioned times as 16 year olds.
"Yosemite": It’s the fall of 1985. The intertwining tales of three 4th grade friends, Chris, Joe and Shrimp, unfold in the suburban paradise of Palo Alto, as the threat of a killer mountain lion looms over the community. Chris encounters a dead body up close on a trip to Yosemite with his Dad.
For the full synopses and more information (like what stories inspired each film), check out the project's Indiegogo page.