The festival, staged by the Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI) at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills, will open with Aron Gauder’s animation Four Souls Of Coyote, best feature jury award winner at this year’s Annecy, and Madison Thomas’ post-apocalyptic drama Finality Of Dusk.
The mere presence of director Jan Kounen on the Annecy Festival feature-film jury put "Four Souls of Coyote" in a strong position for a place on the list of winners. The Prix du Jury confirmed the hypothesis: the film's subject matter, deploying ecological issues through an animist/shamanist rereading of the cycle of life, could only speak to the man who, from "Blueberry" to "Darshan", had used his cinematic art to benefit new forms of perception of the world.
Environmental messages are hardly unusual in feature animation. Still, Four Souls Of Coyote’s approach is distinctive in its application of indigenous folklore and wisdom to the world we currently inhabit and abuse. And while questions of cultural appropriation may be raised about a Hungarian filmmaker’s decision to tell Native American stories, this is a respectful work – Gauder collaborated with several Native American advisors during the filmmaking process.
"....Gauder and team have crafted a beautifully designed and imaginative work that, at its core, touches upon environmental, historical, and political issues that affect every one of us. Arguments about cultural appropriation aside (hopefully the screening of the film generates some meaningful dialogue about this issue), you’re better off seeing Four Souls than the latest facile big studio nonsense."
Ottawa Animation Festival
"A fascinating and seductive journey into Native American cosmogony that more than echoes the great contemporary ecological concerns, the film is a total success accessible to all audiences, a mystical ode to nature that rightly reminds us that "man does not weave the web of life. He is only a strand of it."
”I am amazed with what I have seen, Stepping into the wonders of the tribal universe with the blending of the highest form of artistic storytelling, the Four Souls of Coyote is a gift to the wonders of humanity and the mystery of tribal people.”
the film’s American Indian consultant, an enrolled member of the Navaho Tribe
"The filmmakers proved a good deal of courage when they wanted to create the film to use Native American creation stories. And let’s be clear from the outset: with success. Four Souls of Coyote nails the viewer to their seat with elemental power. Finally a Hungarian film that is authentic from beginning to end."
The film warns that man is a fallible creature who has responsibility for the other creatures too. We cannot consume limitlessly; we must keep our desires in check because if we do not, then the created world will perish. The societal message and how the film makes the viewer aware of it are first class.