Celebrity crowdsurfing at Kickstarter has been the new hot topic to hit the internet. It’s been the controversy surrounding these campaigns that has sparked some discussion in the indie film community. Is it right that celebrities are asking fans for money when they’re handsomely rewarded for their acting films? Who is Kickstarter really representing, the artist, or the celebrity? Are they one in the same?
It’s hard to get your film funded no matter who you are these days, and if a big name is behind a project, that doesn’t mean at the end of the day people like Zach Braff get to keep their own artistic integrity after a studio has agreed to put the money upfront. That’s at least what James Franco is suggesting. Franco is just another celebrity asking the public to support a worthwhile project.
Franco is asking people on Indiegogo to support three films based on his three short stories featured in his book Palo Alto. The films are important to him as most of the stories written in his book are about experiences he had or his friends have had while growing up in Palo Alto. The three films are said to be titled after the stories: “Yosemite,” “Killing Animals,” and “Memoria.”
There’s a few differences here: For one, Franco isn’t going to Kickstarter. He’s decided to take his campaign to Indiegogo, another site that helps filmmakers back their projects. The second is that Franco is only spearheading this project, and will not direct these films. Instead he has given the opportunity to post-grad film students from NYU. Nina Ljeti and Vladimir de Fontenay will direct “Memoria,” Bruce Thierry Craig till direct “Killing Animals,” and Gabrielle Demeestere will take on “Yosemite.” The third is that all proceeds will go to the charity Art of The Elysium, which focuses on bringing art to children in need.
It’s said that all three films will be scheduled to film in August in Palo Alto, presumably after Franco is done filming Good People with Kate Hudson, which is currently underway in London.
Those who want to fund Franco’s NYU grad films will be rewarded handsomely. Just $20 dollars gets a fan an audio recording by James, and $5,000 dollars gets a lucky fan in one of the films. Uping the ante, Franco will send an original painting for $7,000 dollars, while a $10,000 dollar donation will get someone an executive producer credit and a VIP dinner with the man himself, and his production team.
Sound good? If so, head on to the Indiegogo page.