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Renowned film animator, director to be honored at Las Cruces International Film Festival

Before “The Simpsons” and before the “Family Guy,” there was Ralph Bakshi. In the 1970s, Bakshi established an alternative to mainstream animation through independent and adult-oriented productions. This spring, he will receive the Outstanding Achievement in Animation Award during the 2018 Las Cruces International Film Festival presented by New Mexico State University, which runs March 7-11.


Head and shoulders of a man with gray hair and glasses
Ralph Bakshi will receive the Outstanding Achievement in Animation award Friday, March 9 at the Las Cruces International Film Festival, presented by New Mexico State University. (Courtesy photo)

Between 1972 and 2015, Bakshi directed 10 theatrically released feature films, six of which he wrote. He has been involved in numerous television projects as director, writer, producer and animator. His debut feature film, “Fritz the Cat” released in 1972, is the most successful independent animated feature of all time.

“We’re honored that Ralph Bakshi will be coming to Las Cruces for the film festival this year,” said Ross Marks, executive director of the festival and professor at NMSU’s Creative Media Institute. “His films were bold, hysterically funny and politically incorrect. He has made groundbreaking contributions to the genre of animated films.”

Bakshi is well known for such films as “Wizards” (1977), “The Lord of the Rings” (1978), “American Pop” (1981) and “Fire and Ice” (1983). He returned to television work, producing the series “Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures,” the live-action film “Cool and the Crazy” (1994); and the HBO anthology series “Spicy City” in 1997. More recently, Bakshi released a short animated film, “Last Days of Coney Island” in 2015. The film was crowdfunded online and was produced by his son, Eddie Bakshi.

Bakshi’s awards include, the 1980 Golden Gryphon for “The Lord of the Rings” at the Giffoni Film Festival, the 1988 Annie Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Art of Animation, the 2003 Maverick Tribute Award at the Cinequest Film Festival, as well as the Inkpot Award at Comic-Con International in 2008.

LCIFF will screen the films “Wizards,” featuring Mark Hamill at 5 p.m. and “American Pop” at 7 p.m. Friday, March 9 at the Allen Theatres Cineport 10, followed by a question and answer session with Bakshi. He will be honored at a VIP Party that evening.

Tickets for the festival are available online at lascrucesfilmfest.com. VIP tickets are $150. All Film and Workshop Access Passes are $75. A Daily Screening Pass for $20 allows participants to attend the Opening Night Film and to attend the festival all day Thursday, March 8. Single tickets, if still available, can be purchased at Cineport 10 March 7 for $8. Tickets may also be purchased at the Rio Grande Theatre on Main Street in Las Cruces.