As you may know from listening to our podcast for the last few years, you would know that we are huge animation fans. Especially of the more bizarre and off the cuff sort. And one of those classic animators that we always wish would work more is Ralph Bakshi. The man who brought Fritz the Cat to the big screen, made the first adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, American Pop, Wizards, Heavy Traffic, Fire and Ice, Coonskin and yes, even Cool World has a new animation project up for funding on Kickstarter. Called Last Days of Coney Island, it of course triggered something in me, being a Brooklyn native and all. Plus the idea of hand drawn animation in his rough sketch style makes the animation nerd inside me a happy camper.
As Bakshi describes it, it’s ‘animated cop, mafia, horror movie set in the 1960’s in Coney Island, with political overtones both realistic and outrageous‘, which sounds just like a Bakshi film. Something that seems to be a stream of consciousness, with some raunchiness to it and with a sense of style only he could bring forth with his animation. And we’re very excited about it. It’s being called a series of shorts, so it’s not technically a new feature, but it seems to have a connecting fiber, which is perfectly fine. He has plenty of amazing perks for anyone who puts money toward the project. The usual copies of the film are in the lower tier but things get interesting once you get to the higher tier of perks. Items such as hand signed custom prints of original Bakshi sketches with signed copies of backgrounds from the film for $100, an original animation cel from a film of your choice for $200, hand signed original sketches from Bakshi with signed copies of his book ‘Unfiltered’ for $400 to original pieces of production art from Wizards by Mike Ploog for $3000 and even your face in the animated film for the price of $10,000 (you also get your choice of a mixed media piece from his last Soho show ‘The Streets’, a choice of a painting and a personal doodle from the man himself with his book Unfiltered included). Makes you wish you had a few extra bucks laying around for that one. Mind you, one has already been claimed with 4 left to purchase, so you still have a chance to get one.
With Bill Plympton being successful recently with his new animated venture Cheatin‘, Bakshi has a great chance in getting this project off the ground. There’s more than 3 weeks to go to fund it, with over $27,000 already being in the bank with a total of $165,000 being the goal of the project. A series of shorts from Bakshi, focusing on the weird and wonderful characters in a slightly skewed Coney Island of the 1960’s? I already wish I have seen it 5 times and it hasn’t even been completed yet. And with the very talented Colleen Cox as lead animator, Ian Miller from Wizards helping with animation and even Tina Romanus lending her voice to the series, it’s a much anticipated animated film by any standard. And with Bakshi having not made a short since 1997 (having focused on painting and his school, among other ventures), so spread the word and let’s get this film funded.