Amanda Pendolino
June 18, 2013

James Franco Launches IndieGoGo for Films — But There’s a Twist

James Franco is the latest celebrity to jump on the crowdfunding bandwagon, setting up an IndieGoGo account to raise $500,000 for Palo Alto Stories, three feature films based on short stories he’s written about his hometown.

But as Variety reports, there’s a twist: all proceeds from the films will go to the Art of Elysium, a charity that encourages working actors, artists and musicians to volunteer their talents to children with serious medical conditions.

“It touches on universal things about being a teenager and coming-of-age and learning about the bigger world,” James said of the endeavor, which aims to adapt his stories “Memoria,” “Killing Animals” and “Yosemite.” He’s recruited young directors Nina Ljeti, Vladimir Bourdeau, Bruce Thierry Cheung and Gabrielle Demeestere to adapt and helm the projects.

Right now, James has raised over $25,000 with 30 days to go. It’s unlikely James will face the crowdfunding backlash that Zach Braff, Zosia Mamet and others did (though Zach was still successful), since he’s going to donate his proceeds to charity — but the question remains: Why make films? Why not just raise money for charity?

“Giving new filmmakers the opportunity to direct and produce films has become one of my greatest passions,” James says on the funding page. “I strongly believe in this project and these visionary filmmakers.”

Since two of his directors, Nina and Gabrielle, are women — I say let’s support the project. The state of women in cinema is absolutely dire, and getting more women behind the camera can only help.