Coyote – 5 Questions for Film Director Lorenz Wunderle

Image from the animated short film, 'Coyote'

Winner of the Best International Short award at the 2018 Palm Springs International ShortFest

1. What have been audiences initial reactions to this film and have those reactions been what you were hoping for?

The reactions of the audience were the reactions that I was hoping for. There were those who didn’t like it and others who they loved it. It depends on where you put Coyote in a program of the Festival because this animation film is trippy and graphic, it stands sometimes out from the others. And that is why I got feedbacks from “that was different” in the sense of “that was bad” to “what the fuck!?” and “I loved it”. It all comes down to what kind of movies  individuals like to watch. But I’d never thought that Coyote would be screening in so many Short Film Festivals around the World. I’m still totally amazed by that. 

2. How did you settle on this particular animation style and how does it enhance the story being told?

Well in the technical sense of the animation style, it fits to my ability as an animator and in taste, I’m more dragged to handdrawn animation than to other animation styles, because I grew up on a lot of cartoon tv series and I chose to study it later at the University of Lucerne. From my standpoint, I couldn’t imagine how I could tell Coyote in another way than in 2D hand-drawn animation. From the colors to the characters and the whole landscapes of the worlds where the story is going through are totally fantastic fictional and has a feverish appearance. So I wanted to have a look and style that exaggerated everything, to have it a little unrealistic, entertaining and has some fluid cuts too, to have a trippy feeling. That is why I wanted it like that and I’m finding it comfortable to bring it to life in this particular animation style.    

3. Who or what inspires you? As a storyteller, a director, an animator?

I was inspired from so many TV animations, movies or comics from my past. I grew up on 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). Animation wise, I was very into Tex Avery’s or Ed Love’s stuff. So fictional violence on TV was fascinating for me and I got used to it. Although the Looney Tunes Show didn’t include bloody violence, the characters 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 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 Bashki’s stuff, The Simpsons, South Park, Akira, Happy Tree Friends, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Rick and Morty or some of the Adult Swim stuff like Super Jail and so on… 

4. What the most important thing to consider when directing an animated project?

From my perspective, I like to use the potential to use the ability of animation to create an absolute fictional world with weird characters that could form into anything possible that I could imagine and fits the story. In that mind, I feel it’s very important to have a good and intense pre-production time. I don’t like to stress a story. I step away sometimes from it to get some distance from my idea so I get a fresh insight on my project and I’m more critical about it and change some bits quite easily. Also, I’m getting a lot of feedback from other friends but I always consider their taste and include it in my perspective so it still has my taste of style in the way of storytelling.

5. What do you find most exciting about telling stories in a limited runtime? 

I guess right now, I’m very comfortable to tell stories in a limited time. I’ve got the feeling that there is more space to get a little more experimental on how to tell a story to an audience. I saw a lot of animations that were
more vague and they totally worked for me, because they just want to explain a feeling or establish a weird or fantastic world in the visual matter where you can dive in as a viewer and forget about your life for a moment. On the other hand,  it is very challenging to build a protagonist that has the empathy of the audience in a few seconds and hold it till the end of the story. I’m also interested in trying and doing a feature-length film if the time is right.

Related: 5 Questions  | Interviews with Up-And-Coming Directors of Acclaimed Short Films