James Franco stars in Ginsberg-inspired film

Indie banner Werc Werk Works will produce and fully finance “Howl,” starring James Franco, with lensing set to start March 16 in New York City.

“Howl” centers on the obscenity trial over Allen Ginsberg’s poem, as well as an animated reimagining of the poem itself.

Werc Werk Works CEO Elizabeth Redleaf and president Christine Walker are producing along with Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman of Telling Pictures, who will direct from their own screenplay. Gus Van Sant exec produces.

“Howl” will mark the third production for Werc Werk Works, which launched in August. The shingle is producing and financing Todd Solondz’s follow-up to “Happiness,” tentatively titled “Forgiveness” and currently in post-production, as well as Bela Tarr’s “The Turin Horse,” now in production.

Epstein and Friedman’s credits include “The Celluloid Closet” for HBO, and “Paragraph 175,” winner of the directing award at Sundance 2000.

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