James Franco Launches $500,000 Crowdfunding Campaign For Three New Films

on June 18 2013 4:48 PM
James Franco
James Franco REUTERS

James Franco is getting into the crowd-funding game, says the Associated Press.

The actor is looking to raise $500,00 via crowd-funding site Indiegogo to fund the production of three feature films based on his book of short stories, “Palo Alto,” and he’s teaming with up-and-coming filmmakers Nina Ljeti, Vladimir Bourdeau, Bruce Thierry Cheung and Gabriel Demestree to do it.

“Over the past three years I have directed and produced six feature films," Franco said on Indiegogo. "I’ve also begun dedicating much of my time to teaching. Giving new filmmakers the opportunity to direct and produce films has become one of my greatest passions."

However, as The Hollywood Reporter notes, there is no indication as to whether Franco himself will appear in any of the films.

The actor is promising all sorts of goodies to his potential backers, including a personalized cell phone voicemail ($450), associate producer credit ($1,000), an original painting by Franco himself ($7,000), and much more.

Though he has personally funded some of his films in the past, Franco says the cost of producing three films consecutively resulted in the need for an alternative source of funding.

“Because of who I am, people often believe that it is easy to find investors and distributors for my films.  Unfortunately, things aren’t that easy. More times than not, I have 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 of your help, filming three feature films back-to-back requires more funding than I can give,” Franco said.

The $500,000 will be divided equally among each of the three films, and all profits earned from the films will be donated to The Art of Elysium Industry Program.

Franco joins the likes of Zach Braff and the creators of “Veronica Mars,” each of whom have launched successful online campaigns to get funding for their projects over the past couple of months.

The trend has exploded over the past year. Small Business Trends points to a crowd-funding industry report from Mass Solutions, which says that crowd-funding raised more $2 billion and funded more than 1 billion campaigns in 2012. That figure is expected to increase by 81 percent in 2013, to $5.1 billion.