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In the latest lockdown interview, Zippy Frames catches up with Lorenz Wunderle to discuss his animated short film, Coyote.

During today’s lockdown, Lorenz has been developing a new TV series, working title Blood Mountain, making character designs, and writing a synopsis of each episode, ready to pitch for funding from SBC (the Swiss national TV station). This new series is aimed at a young adult audience, 22yrs+, similar to the target audience for Coyote. Wunderle refers to his admiration for Adult Swim, especially King Star King and Superjail!, and there is a clear connection in the weird, dark humour and gory aesthetic. Prior to making Coyote, Wunderle felt that the Swiss scene was less open to experimental, darkly humorous adult-oriented animation, and was more exclusively focused on kids’ animated TV and beautiful, non-radical works. The film was 60% funded by the Swiss National Culture Department, with the remaining 40% coming from SBC, and from the city where the director is based, and the city of production.

The audience response was particularly positive in the US, where shows such as Adult Swim already had established audiences embracing weird and punky adult animation. Wunderle explained how his film was inspired by road movies, in particular the motorbike scene in Akira. He also cites Tarantino’s use of music, and took many influences from growing up on a diet of action movies such as Die Hard. Coyote has a very strong punk aesthetic, partly due to its vivid, discordant colour pallet. Colour is used to create a powerful, aggressive atmosphere, suffused with bloodlust and yearning for vengeance. Foley brings realism (buzzing flies on animal corpses), and there is a highly visceral, blood and puke drenched tone, embracing both skateboard aesthetic and biker-gang menace.

Wunderle has made a wonderfully cosmic world, where the lead character, a coyote, loses his family to a violent gang of wolves. The coyote is left to die, but is offered a second chance, and resurrected by a demon buffalo. In this parallel universe, the coyote becomes part human, experiencing the anguish and torment of bloody revenge; and the demon buffalo signifies toxic masculinity, a blinding urge to preserve one’s honour at any cost. In switching from normal reality (animals eating each other) to anthropomorphized bloodlust, the story follows a B movie arc, where the dark humour creates a distance from the violent acts committed.

Watch Coyote by Lorenz Wunderle

The striking aesthetic uses complementary colour pairings, garish eye-popping outlines and grunge textures, contrasting environment with character. The film was made using Photoshop for environments, TV Paint for character work and all composited in After Effects. It was produced at a shared studio complex in Lucerne, Switzerland; but with the background artist, Remo Scherrer, collaborating remotely from Mexico.

Coyote is a blisteringly violent, psychedelic trip through another dimension on a blood-fuelled quest for familial vengeance. It is fresh and contemporary, deploying lurid colour pairings and squalid production design; the film oozes style and atmosphere, and I would relish seeing more new work soon by Lorenz Wunderle.

Coyote will screen as part of Cardiff Animation Festival, UK, re-schedule dates tbc.

Contributed by: Joseph Norman

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