Gia Coppola's Palo Alto

To kick off the film focus of this season’s Californian inspirations, we asked young director Gia Coppola to share her top films from the Golden State with us. Now Gia, 27, makes her own Californian feature directorial debut with 'Palo Alto'.

read more

Meet Gia…


Born January 1, 1987, Gia grew up in Los Angeles. She attended Archer School for Girls in Brentwood, California, before entering Bard College, a prestigious liberal arts institution which is noted for its excellent photography department - Gia’s intended course of study. Her artistic tendency was to use the camera with personal style, casually documenting life within her field of vision. She made a departure into film noir for projects, mimicking stills from noir films using an old light bulb flash during nighttime shoots.

After graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, Gia began making advertising videos with her friends to challenge herself in another arena: "When fashion companies started hiring us to make short online videos using their clothes, I’d think up stories I could tell without too many locations, using my friends as the actors. I was excited by film because it added something to what I was already doing. I liked writing, developing characters, telling a story, and using different, more complex cameras." 

As the first grandchild of Francis and Eleanor Coppola, Gia never knew her father, Gian-Carlo Coppola, who lost his life in a tragic accident before she was born. She and her mother, the former Jacqui de la Fontaine, lived in Napa Valley during her early years, before eventually returning to L.A. Gia is now based in New York City.



'Palo Alto' is Gia’s first feature film, an impressionistic study of teen angst and parental malaise in an urban community. The screenplay emerged from a collection of short stories by James Franco, whose company, Rabbit Bandini, also financed and produced the film.



Emma Roberts (“American Horror Story,” We’re the Millers)
Jack Kilmer (in his acting debut)
James Franco (Spring Breakers)
Nat Wolff (Admission, The Fault in Our Stars)
Zoe Levin (The Way, Way Back)
Chris Messina (“The Mindy Project”)
Val Kilmer


Shy, sensitive April (Emma Roberts) is the class virgin —a popular soccer player and frequent babysitter for her single-dad coach, Mr. B. (James Franco). Teddy (Jack Kilmer) is an introspective artist whose best friend and sidekick Fred (Nat Wolff) is an unpredictable live wire with few filters or boundaries. While April negotiates a dangerous affair with Mr. B., and Teddy performs community service for a DUI — secretly carrying a torch for April, who may or may not share his affection — Fred seduces Emily (Zoe Levin), a promiscuous loner who seeks validation through sexual encounters. One high school party bleeds into another as April and Teddy finally acknowledge their mutual affection, and Fred's escalating recklessness spirals into chaos.


PALO ALTO premiers in select theaters in the United States on May 9th, and in France on June 11th 2014.