We had the opportunity to talk to Lorenz Wunderle, the director of Coyote, whose film is eligible to be considered for a 2019 Oscar.
Where did this idea come from?
So my interest was to create a character that was getting pushed aggressively into a corner, that he only could break out with violence. So his violent action in the story would be a cathartic moment. And I was also fascinated about mythological figures or religions like voodoo or Santeria, that about exist in parallel worlds and demons and ghosts. So I created this demon that wants to make a deal with the coyote and pushes him into a violent world.
How do you relate to this short film?
Well, I experienced some grief in the past and I was a little frustrated at one point at that time when I studied my Masters in Lucerne but I can guarantee you that it was not like ‘COYOTE’. It was a creative process that made this short film happen.
What other animations influenced this animated short?
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 so fictional violence on TV was fascinating for me and I got used to it. But I remember, when I watched Ghost in the Shell in the ’90s where a guy got his head blown off 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 Ralph Bashkis movies, 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. But I also get a lot of influence from comics or illustrations too.
Can you explain certain aspects of it? For instance, the dark bull haunting him? Or the bull inhaling everyone else’s bits? What is that supposed to represent?
The bison is the demon of the coyote that is offering him a deal to take revenge on the wolves. So the bison took the souls of him and his family to transfer the coyote to another parallel world, where he is able to fulfill his revenge and offering the souls of the wolves in exchange for his family to be free again. The demon’s interest is to keep the circle of violence going. The bison could also be seen as a medieval ideal of masculinity or a belief of a savage justice system that is requiring an eye for an eye.
Why did you decide to animate it the way you did? When the blood covers the screen when the characters flip into a new world when they go inside the other animal?
Especially when the blood covers the screen, it is more a visual symbolic approach and you give the audience more control of guessing the gruesome actions that happened in contrary to when I’m showing you some guts and bones. Flipping a new world on a character can be seen as another way to make a fluid cut into the other scene or also seen as emotional, that the world is crashing on him after this tragic loss. The inside of the bison is the chamber for souls that got imprisoned. And the belly of the beast is an old trope that gets used in different other stories such as you know from Jonah and the whale or Pinocchio. I just had fun to create a weird one with mushrooms on the side and an acid Jacuzzi.
What was your main goal for this short film?
That the audience will say WTF!!!
Why did you decide to give the animals human abilities?
Because I wanted to show the difference between animal and human abilities and that the emotional struggle as a human is going more towards self-destruction. And I guess that is more direct, honest and dirtier in human form than in other ways.
Was it difficult to give animals human abilities? If so how or why?
No, you just think of humans with animal heads. And I learned some tricks from watching ‘Looney Tunes’ as a child.
What is the overall message from Coyote?
How humans could grief, get possessed by evil thoughts, which will eventually lead to violent reactions. 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 Coyote and for more information about Lorenz’s work, please see the social media handles below.
Instagram: @lorenzworksforburgers, @ykanimation, #coyoteshortfilm
Twitter: @ykanimation, #coyoteshortfilm