Faculty & Staff

 Faculty and Staff Directory


Edward Bakshi

Eddie Bakshi specializes in teaching 2D animation production at CMI with a focus on scene assembly, compositing and effects. He began his film career working for 20th Century Fox on “Unfaithful”, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. He then moved into animation, working for Nickelodeon as a scanner and digital ink and painter on the “Wild Thornberrys Movie ” and “Rugrats Go Wild” features. He was an Assistant Technical Director on “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie”, and worked as Head Technical Director on Ralph Bakshi’s most recent animated pilot, “Last Days of Coney Island”. Eddie is one of the founding members of the CMI Animation and Visual Effects department, which was ranked 18th in the country among public schools by Animation Career Review in 2016.



Milton Hall, room 185K




Derek Chase

Derek Chase is a Digital Artist & 3D Generalist captivated by all things creative. He appreciates each step in the creation process from research & development to the finished product; though, his primary area of focus is in Visual Development.
Derek enjoys sharing learned techniques with others and thus has developed a passion for teaching. His teaching career began at NMSU’s Creative Media Institute in 2011 where he continues instruction. Education offers a unique opportunity to awaken another’s innermost talents and nurture their creativity.




Milton Hall, room 214



Evan Curtis

Evan Curtis is an award-winning independent stop motion animator and filmmaker. His work has screened at SXSW, on PBS, and in over 50 festivals worldwide. The primary focus of his work is on self-reflexive stories and the environments that influence them. His films can be viewed at OreMagiFilms.com.
He received a BFA in Film from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film at Purchase College and an MFA in Animation from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has interned at Blue Sky Studios and Adult Swim.
Growing up in the Adirondacks of New York, many defining adventures shaped his imagination and fostered environmental advocacy. Evan is an AmeriCorps alum and has taught outdoor leadership and trail conservation to at-risk youth in Montana and the Adirondacks.
When not teaching and making films, Evan can be found exploring the wilderness with his dog and wife.




Milton Hall, room 084B

Anthony Deiter



ony Deiter is a contemporary storyteller, employing 3d animation/modeling, painting, sculpture and other computer technologies to communicate the contemporary histories of Native American/First Nations people through references to his own history. Anthony is from the Plains Cree Nation. As a teacher, designer and artist, one of his personal mandates is to close the digital divide in remote, urban and disadvantaged communities. Deiter works frequently in both the US and Canada. He is currently Visiting Professor of Animation at the Creative Media Institute at New Mexico State University. His work has been exhibited and screened nationally and internationally including the Imago Mundi Venice Biennale (collaborative), The Grand Palais in Paris, France, Pou Kapua, Auckland New Zealand and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (New York City).


Milton Hall, room 172E




Mitch Fowler

Mitch Fowler has loved movies all his life, and is lucky enough to have turned that into a career. Mitch earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama, where he also played football for the Crimson Tide. He later earned his M.F.A. in Film Production from Florida State University.

Mitch’s primary teaching focus is in cinematography and production, with emphases in lighting for mood and emotion, and helping students articulate and execute their visions. His teaching philosophy is to develop the student filmmaker as a whole; to teach not only concepts and techniques, but to help students understand how they can apply those concepts to things outside filmmaking, and how they can bring their outside lives into their world as filmmakers.

Mitch’s production experience spans over 300 feature-length, documentary, short, and student films, including the Academy Award-nominated documentary Murderball. Some current projects include the documentary series Labeled, which endeavors to inspire and educate through the sharing of personal and intimate stories of people living with mental illness, and Walking With Herb, a feature film starring Edward James Olmos, George Lopez, and Kathleen Quinlan.

Mitch is an avid racquetball player, escape room enthusiast, and is better at Wheel of Fortune than anyone his mother has ever seen.



Milton Hall, room 168




Rajeev Nirmalakhandan

Rajeev Nirmalakhandan is a Sri Lankan native who has spent most of his adult life in Las Cruces. He is a writer/director with a strong interest in cinematography and graphic design. He has a film degree from UCLA and was a script reader at studios in Los Angeles. He has directed feature films, short films, commercials, documentaries and promotional videos. His work has played at festivals, has won awards, and written about in national publications. He is a member of the New Mexico Governor’s Advisory Board on Film and on the board of directors for Film Las Cruces. He has been a part of the CMI family since its inception in 2006.



Milton Hall, room 172F


Ross Marks

Ross Kagan Marks graduated from New Mexico State University with a BA in 1990. Ross directed the award-winning short film SCRAMBLED LOVE in 1990. Ross was one of the youngest graduates of the prestigious American Film Institute (AFI) Directing Program, where he received his MFA in 1994. In 1994, Ross also directed the award-wining film SHOWDOWN ON RIO ROAD featuring Robby Benson. In 1995, Ross directed the full-length feature film, HOMAGE, starring Blythe Danner, Bruce Davison, Sheryl Lee and Frank Whaley, written and produced by Mark Medoff. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it received an award and went on to receive more awards at numerous film festivals. In 1997, Ross directed the film adaptation of the play THE TWILIGHT OF THE GOLDS. The film was produced by Showtime and Hallmark. Garry Marshall was Executive Producer. The film featured Marshall, Faye Dunaway, Brendan Fraser, Rosie O’Donnell, Jack Klugman, Jon Tenney, and Jennifer Beals. The film opened the Chicago Film Festival in 1998, played at Sundance, and received many awards. 1n 1997 and 1998 Ross taught independent filmmaking at The AFI. Ross directed the award-winning short film PRINCESS in 2014. The film was a semi-finalist for the Live Action Short Academy Award. He completed his fourth feature film THE HEART OUTRIGHT written by Mark Medoff based on his stage play. He is currently in pre-production on his fifth feature film WALKING WITH HERB, starring Edward James Olmos, George Lopez, Christopher MacDonald and Billy Boyd. The film is based on the award-winning novel, with a screenplay by Academy award nominee Mark Medoff. Ross teaches at New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute. He is the Executive Director of the Las Cruces International Film Festival.



Milton Hall, room 172G

Sherwin Lau

Sherwin Lau is an award-winning filmmaker and educator based in New Mexico. Since 2006, he has worked on feature films, documentaries, commercials and music videos and has collaborated with filmmakers all around the world. He has worked for clients such as Warner Brothers Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Fueled By Ramen, Blackmagic Design, Crush, and Gypsy City Music. His professional work has been featured in prestigious film publications like American Cinematographer (June 2016). In addition to his filmmaking career, he teaches undergraduate courses in Editing, Color Grading, Sound Design, Cinematography, Producing, Documentary and Short Film Production as an assistant professor at the Creative Media Institute at New Mexico State University.  He has taught film production courses as a guest lecturer in Europe and Asia.
Sherwin is a DaVinci Resolve Certified Trainer and a professional member of the Colorist Society International. He holds an M.F.A. in Film Production from Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts.
Visit his website at sherwinlaufilms.com




Milton Hall, room 172D







Amy Lanasa, M.F.A Department Head amyla@nmsu.edu 575.646.6142
Edward Bakshi College Assistant Professor eddieb@nmsu.edu 575.646.6892
Derek Chase College Instructor chader22@nmsu.edu 575.646.6893
Derek Fisher, Associate Professor dfisher@nmsu.edu 575.646.6147
Barbara Franco Admin Asst, Inter bafranco@nmsu.edu 575.646.6139
Mitch Fowler, M.F.A Assistant Professor jmfowler@nmsu.edu 575.646.6360
Ilana Lapid, M.F.A Assistant Professor ilapid@nmsu.edu 575.646.5652
Sherwin Lau, M.F.A Assistant Professor kslau8@nmsu.edu 575.646.6348
Ross Marks, M.F.A College Assistant Professor rossm@nmsu.edu 575.646.7472
Orlando Martos Equipment Supervisor xerves@nmsu.edu 575.646.6145
Mark Medoff, M.A Senior Fellow mmedoff@nmsu.edu 575.646.6141
Rajeev Nirmalakhandan College Instructor rajeev@nmsu.edu 575.646.6144
Steven Chan Tech Support schan@nmsu.edu 575.646.2651