The brilliant post-psychedelic animation Coyote was directed by Lorenz Wunderle and produced by Ramon Schoch. After winning the Oscar-qualifying film festival Aspen Shortfest for Best Animation, Coyote is now eligible to be considered for a 2019 Oscar. We managed to talk to Lorenz about his film, asking what his inspiration behind Coyote, how the audience reacted to it, what he wants the audience to take away from Coyote and how his dream team helped him bring his vision on screen.
What inspired you to make this film?
I was inspired from so many TV animations, movies or comics from my childhood. I grew up with a lot of Hollywood action movies from the late ’90s that were all about good versus evil, betrayal, vengeance, and violence. I loved the Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry as a kid (I still do today). So fictional violence on TV was fascinating for me and I got used to it. Although Tom and Jerry was not bloody violence, they were still hurting each other in a funny and entertaining way. But I remember, when I watched Ghost in the Shell in the ’90s where a guy got his head blown away from a gunshot, I was shocked. I didn’t think that you could do that to a cartoon character. So it was a revealing moment for me. After that, I was more into Animations or Anime for an adult audience like The Simpsons, South Park, Akira, Happy Tree Friends, The Ren & Stimpy Show, or some of the Adult Swim stuff like Super Jail and so on…
It’s quite gruesome in the sense that it shows the body parts and there’s a lot of killing, why did you decide to add that much detail into it?
I like it to exaggerate some things in aspects of actions or details and I think animation is the right tool to do it. And in use of exaggeration, you can get a quite good distance from reality and that was what I was doing. The body parts that were not really anatomically correct in shapes or colors, the killings that were fictionally over the top was a chosen style that I was drawn to make. So it’s visually shocking and hard to digest for audiences that are used to see mainstream animation movies.
Why did you choose these particular animals to play these parts?
I chose those animals because these are also mythical ones and they fit the landscapes of the story.
How have the audience reacted to Coyote so far?
Some loved it and others didn’t like it for the same reasons. But I’m really happy that it has been screening in so many festivals around the world and when I’m visiting a festival, there is always a person that saw it already in another festival before. It always feels good to hear and see that.
How do you deal with negative reactions from the audiences, as this film might not appeal to everyone?
Well, they never said it directly to me but I was not surprised and that is ok with me. As I started to draw the idea, I was sure that I was making a short movie that won’t be for everyone but I knew some people will love it like me. I heard a few times from people that didn’t like ‘COYOTE’ at first and then after seeing it two or three times, they liked it suddenly because they saw more of the depth of the story and how it fits together with the look of the short.
How did your team help with accurately displaying your vision onscreen?
After I introduced the fake teaser and my new designs for the characters and backgrounds, we gave each other feedback on the storyboards and the animatic. That was helpful and it made me more confident over my vision for the short. After that, it was almost a harmonic workflow. My animation team was also adapting very quick to my style and was understood where I wanted to go. My background artist felt knew what was visually possible in terms of hiding some jokes in the backgrounds as well the compositing, the sound, and the music crew was motivated and eager to give own inputs that fitted to the design of the story.
What would you have done differently with Coyote with you had a chance to change it?
Maybe more silly jokes drawn or written down in the backgrounds of the bar and toilet scenes and more squishy eyeballs in the in-between frames.
What was your favorite part about making this short?
First of all, working with my friends on the short for almost 9 months together, animating the mirror scene and writing the country song with Rahel Zimmermann. https://soundcloud.com/user-461834034/coyote-soul
What other projects are you working on?
I joined YK Animation Studio in Bern, Switzerland as an animator and layout artist. I finished supervising ‘Salomon Mens’ a 2D animation short from Eisprung Studio in Bern. Right now I’m working again on my own stuff drawing and writing stories for maybe a TV series in the future. YK Animation Studio is mostly doing animation short movies financed trough cultural state fundings and national TV station. ‘Laugh Lines’ from Patricia Wenger is starting now the festival run and ‘In A Nutshell’ from Fabio Friedli is coming soon as a Vimeo Staff Pick Premier on January 2019.
What message do you want the audience to take away from Coyote?
How humans could grieve, get crazy, possessed by evil thoughts which could lead to the cause of the violent reaction. That revenge will never bring back the past, only loneliness, no progress and a circle of violence, that maybe never find an end till everybody is gone. Although the topic could be taken seriously, I think the audience will not be morally bummed out at the end of the short movie.
For more information on the film Coyote and the director, please see the social handles below.
Coyote’s Social Media
Instagram: @lorenzworksforburgers, @ykanimation, #coyoteshortfilm
Twitter: @ykanimation, #coyoteshortfilm
Coyote “Teaser” from Lorenz Wunderle on Vimeo