Interview With Lorenz Wunderle: “I finally found something that I am passionate about”

Coyote is a creative and outstanding animation by director Lorenz Wunderle. An animation which focuses on the themes of grief and revenge, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Lorenz and talking to him about his film which is eligible to be considered for a 2019 Oscar.

Hi Lorenz, how are you doing?

Doing really good, thank you!

Congrats on Coyote, your latest short animation film. Where did the idea for this movie come from?

I wanted to create a character that was getting pushed aggressively into a corner, that he only could break out with violence. So the violent action in the story should be the character’s cathartic moment. I was also fascinated by mythological figures or religions like voodoo or Santeria, that are about existing parallel worlds, demons, and ghosts so I wanted a demon to make a deal with the protagonist and push him or her towards a violent reaction.

It’s a very psychedelic, unusual but very intriguing movie. How many people were involved in making this film and how did they all come together?

So in the beginning, it started with me and I had about two to three people for feedback when I was ready to show it. After that, I’d made an animatic that was ok and a fake trailer that showed me what kind of tune the movie has. Then after a while, I found the ideal producer that has the same taste as me. We worked on the animatic and did some versions until it was what I wanted it to be. After, we got the fundings ready. I employed my friends that I formerly worked with on their animations shorts, they’re just great animators! The sound was also very important for this movie and I’ve known Rahel Zimmermann and Moritz Flachsmann for a while and they’re so good at what they do. There were about 20 people involved and mostly I just knew them since I studied animation in Lucerne, Switzerland.

How long did it take to make a film like this? From having the idea to see the final product?

I was sketching and thinking around the idea for about one year, on and off. During that, I was also working on other animation shorts from other directors, so I had some time to create some distance from my own idea to be more critical about it. After that, it took us 9 months of production time, 2 months of pre-production, 4 months of animation and 3 months of post-production, sound, and music.

The film is an animation film, but it’s one with a twist and it’s certainly not only for children. Did you already have some reactions from people who were expecting something totally different than what they saw? Maybe some surprising reactions as well?

Well, they never said it directly to me but I participated on a small festival called ‘Slam movie night’ in Bern Switzerland, where you can boo a movie if you don’t like it or clap if you want it to continue. I was just wondering how the crowd would react if they had a certain attitude and had some drinks. And it was fifty-fifty every time when people watched Coyote, especially during the violent scenes. When it got violent in ‘COYOTE’, some booed and others clapped harder against the audience that booed. I felt like I was in a football match between two hooligan groups. It was a thrill. I was never surprised at other festivals when parts of the audience didn’t like it. But that is absolutely fine with me. As I started to bring the idea of Coyote together, I was sure that I was making a short movie not everyone would like but I know some people will like it like me. I heard a few times from people that they didn’t like ‘COYOTE’ at first and after seeing it two or three more times, they liked it because they saw more of the depth of the story and how it fits together with the look of the short.

What do you hope that the audience will take away from this film?

How humans could grieve, get crazy and possessed by evil thoughts, which could eventually lead to the cause of a violent reaction. That revenge will never bring back the past, only loneliness, and a circle of violence that maybe will never end until somebody is gone. I think it is about how you choose to deal with and understand the consequences of another person’s actions and also your actions. Although the movie could be taken seriously, I think the audience will not be morally bummed out at the end of the short movie but I hope they also just think ‘WTF!’

The movie has screened all over the world. From the Cork International Film Festival to the Berlinale and it also got well-deserved awards during the Palm Springs Shortfest and the Aspen Shortsfest. Did you expect that this would happen while making this film?

Thanks a lot! I didn’t really think about the festivals during the production, I was more worried whether my friends who were working on ‘COYOTE’, would like my short movie. After we finished the short, I was just hoping that ‘COYOTE’ would run in a lot of festivals. I’m really happy to hear that ‘COYOTE’ is screening all over the world and that there is a high possibility to see it at a festival near your city. I really want to thank all the festivals all around the world that have screened my film, they are so amazing.

How did you get into the movie industry and where did the passion for animation come from?

I was always watching cartoons during my childhood and also doing drawings but adults told me I should do that in my free time and focus more on ‘serious jobs’ like engineering or architecture. I was working as a draftsman in an architecture office and I wanted to become an architect but I ended up hating it and quitting the job. In my twenties, I studied at the University of Arts in Lucerne, Switzerland and during a one year search of what I wanted to do, I rediscovered the cartoons that I loved to watch during my childhood and I was able to study this at my university. So after the horrible, burned out years in the architecture office, I finally found something that was tailored to what I am extremely passionate about. It was a relief!

What advice would you give to other people wanting to achieve a career in the film industry?

To be patient with their ideas, I am very patient with my ideas. I like to give myself time to be distance and critical of my own work, which allows me to stay true to myself and the audience. That is what upcoming filmmakers should do. It is also important to get feedback from people that are honest with your work and figure out if their critical points are about your content or about the taste. You should also get involved in other projects. As an animator, you can join other animation teams to work on their short films, this will help you find out where your strengths lie and get help for those areas where you are lacking and try and get better at it.

One last question: Do you have more projects you’re 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 or a short in the future. In January, YK Animation Studio has started producing a new 2D short animation movie called ‘Little Miss Fate’ from Joder von Rotz and I’m animating on that too. The 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, ‘The Germans’ from Melanie Wigger is almost at the end of the production and ‘In A Nutshell’ from Fabio Friedli is coming soon as a Vimeo Staff Pick Premier on January 2019.

Please see the social media links below for more information on the director and the film.

Social media links

Instagram: @lorenzworksforburgers @ykanimation

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Coyote – Trailer from YK Animation on Vimeo.

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