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James Franco Seeks $500K In Crowd-Funding For New Films

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James Franco (credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

James Franco (credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

(CBS NEWS/AP) – Following in the crowd-funding campaign footsteps of “Veronica Mars” and Zach Braff, actor James Franco is trying to raise $500,000 to bankroll a trilogy of movies.

The actor has started a campaign on Indiegogo, a crowd-funding alternative to Kickstarter that allows people to keep the money they raise even if the project doesn’t come to fruition. Franco isn’t trying to direct the films; he’s raising money so that a collection of young filmmakers can adapt his 2011 short story collection, “Palo Alto.”

“Because of who I am, people often believe that it is easy to find investors and distributors for my films,” Franco wrote. “Unfortunately, things aren’t that easy. More times than not, I have put in my own money to produce my films and my student’s 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.”

“We just need a little more help,” he added in an accompanying video. “I’m putting money into these projects because I believe in them and I believe in these filmmakers. These stories are very important to me and very personal.”

Franco, 35, pledges to donate any profits from the films to Art of Elysium, a nonprofit that encourages entertainers to visit children with serious medical conditions. Levels of contribution range from $10 for copies of the screenplays to $10,000, which gets dinner with Franco and an executive producer credit.

The three films — titled “Memoria,” “Yosemite” and “Killing Animals” — will pull from stories Franco wrote about his California hometown. Directing will be Bruce Thierry Cheung, Gabrielle Demeestere, Nina Ljeti and Vladimir de Fontenay, all of whom are current or former students from New York University, where Franco attended the film program.

Franco, who currently stars in the apocalyptic comedy “This Is the End,” has directed a number of feature films. He premiered his William Faulkner adaptation “As I Lay Dying” at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

The campaign didn’t immediately take off like those did for “Veronica Mars” and Braff’s film. As of late Tuesday afternoon, it had pulled in $25,720, with 30 days to go before the campaign closes on July 17.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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