Animator Ralph Bakshi (Fritz The Cat, Coonskin, Cool World) is mounting his first film project in 15 years with the help of Kickstarter and Matthew Modine. The Dark Knight Rises actor will lend his voice to Last Days Of Coney Island, an animated short written and directed by Bakshi that takes place in a 1960s Coney Island populated with “crooked cops, broken hearts, jaded strippers, and singers”. The project has raised $68,875 so far on Kickstarter but with just 14 days remaining to make its $165,000 goal, Modine has also come onboard to executive produce and help Coney Island reach its funding target.
Modine will voice the lead character, a 4-foot-tall mafia collector who “thinks he’s Elvis Presley and sings like Chet Baker”. Adam Rackoff will also executive produce for Cinco Dedos Peliculas, his production company with Modine, while Bakshi’s son Eddie Bakshi is producing. Longtime Bakshi fans Modine and Rackoff discovered the project by accident while surfing Kickstarter and reached out to offer their help. Modine hopes to tap his own network of filmmaker and name talents to fill out the cast, including Quentin Tarantino, Abel Ferrara, and Jack Nicholson. If funded Last Days Of Coney Island – Part 1 will debut in December as a 7-minute animated short, with additional shorts to follow that Bakshi & Co. hope to turn into a feature-length film. Modine is repped by APA and Untitled.
Bakshi parted ways with Hollywood after bristling against studio contraints for the last time on 1997’s Spicy City. But internet platforms like Kickstarter and YouTube, where he debuted his Bakshi’s Blues political shorts last year, have given the iconoclast animator new creative life. “When I worked in the studios I had to hide stuff or I had to change stuff, every trick in the book, there’d be screaming fights”, he told Deadline. “You’re always on edge because you don’t know when the roof’s going to come down”. With fans helping fund his latest venture and a new crew of young animators working remotely all over the country, Bakshi is high on digital age alternative financing and production methods: “It makes me feel somehow that I’m starting over in the right way”.
Here’s Bakshi’s Kickstarter video: