The Art of Elysium, or TAOE, has joined forces with James Franco and Vince Jolivette of Bandini Studios to form a streaming entertainment network called Elysium Bandini Studios, that will use the profits from its content, created by actors and artists who are patrons of the Los Angeles-based charity, to service more ill and elderly people in need.
“It’s sort of like a Netflix for charity,” said TAOE founder Jennifer Howell, who began the charity 20 years ago in Los Angeles to bring arts programs to kids in hospitals with serious illnesses. Howell had created a grant called the Tonne Award, named for a late patient, that endowed an emerging filmmaker each year.
With Franco and Jolivette, she created a distribution model for more of this type of content on the digital platform, which goes live on Sunday and will add 30 hours of content each month under a different theme. Artist Shepherd Fairey serves as creative director.
The inaugural program includes videos inspired by the 10th TAOE Heaven gala honoring Stevie Wonder. Seven directors reinterpreted his classic hit “Signed, Sealed and Delivered” to show what their version of heaven is — Zoe Saldana’s is titled “Family,” John Legend’s is “Creation” and Stephen Webster and John Cho chose “Collaboration.” In addition, there are shorts by Matt Bomer, Rufus Wainwright and Miranda Cosgrove.
“The goal is to build an endowment for community service programs across the country for elder care, special needs schools and homeless shelters. The big goal is to be able to bring art programs back to public schools,” said Howell. EBS will also partner with academic institutions to create student projects.
In addition, EBS has been filming the programming that takes place in TAOE’s art salons, ranging from art exhibits to conversations with writers, directors, musicians and designers. “Artists can change the consciousness of the world; they are our microphones and our angels. Without their talent, we’d have nothing to share,” said Howell.