News Column

Actor James Franco looks to make movies out of book 'Palo Alto'

June 20, 2013


June 20--Actor James Franco is counting on his fan base to help bring a collection of short stories he wrote about his experiences growing up in Palo Alto to the silver screen.

On Tuesday, Franco launched a campaign on the popular crowd-funding platform Indiegogo to raise $500,000 for three separate films: "Memoria," "Killing Animals" and "Yosemite."

"Finding the funding while still maintaining artistic creativity has been a constant challenge," Franco wrote in his pitch to would-be donors.

"Unfortunately, things aren't that easy. More times than not, I have to put in my own money to produce my films and my students' films. However, this time it's different; we need more funding. I will still fund part of it but I need your help."

Franco is offering a series of "perks" in the hopes of getting people to cut a check. A single sawbuck is all it takes to become an "official backer" and receive daily updates on the films.

A donation of $75 comes with a yearbook photo of Franco, who attended Palo Alto High School, as well as a postcard featuring one of the actor's paintings and an audio recording of three stories from "Palo Alto."

At the top end, $5,000 buys a role and $10,000 an executive producer credit. The latter includes a VIP dinner with Franco.

Each of the films is based on a couple of stories from "Palo Alto," which Franco published in 2011.

"Memoria" tells the story of a young social misfit who struggles to find love

and respect among his similarly disaffected peers; "Killing Animals" chronicles a young boy's loss of innocence; and "Yosemite" focuses on a group of fourth-graders trying to hunt down a "killer" mountain lion.

The $500,000 Franco hopes to raise would be split among the three films. Profits would be donated to The Art of Elysium Industry Program, a nonprofit organization that encourages actors, artists and musicians to work with children who are battling serious medical conditions.

As of Thursday night and with 27 days to go, $54,155 had been raised, according to Indiegogo.



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