*Online Premiere* In a remote cabin in the redwood forest of Northern California, a Buddhist teacher and his son are thrown together after years of estrangement forced to make peace with life’s inevitabilities. “For the Coyotes” is a remarkable film about connection and pain and mortality. It was made by a two person crew and features only two characters, a stunning feat of simplicity made potent by a richly-built scenario and meditative pacing.
Josh is an app developer in San Francisco. Initially, we don’t know much about his life (in fact, much of the power of the film lies in its measured revelation of details), but he gets a call from his father (Wendell) requesting a visit. He does all he can to avoid it, but his father persists. When he arrives, Wendell has news. In his unhurried manner, he sets the stage for what he's about to reveal. Having always been at odds with his father’s Buddhist existence, wounded from a lifetime of his flaws and hypocrisies, his inner turmoil plays out against his father’s calm. When Wendell’s condition finally reveals itself, they are forced to reckon with their complicated past and search together for the next phase.
James Carpenter plays Wendell in one of the more astonishing performances in recent memory, a man whose body is deteriorating while his mind is reaching for a higher plane. Director Eric Daniel Metzgar, known primarily as a documentary filmmaker (2-time Emmy nominated), himself a practitioner of Buddhism, offers a beautifully shot and composed cinematic experience — its flow of information, complex characterizations, and search for completion, are a marvel. (95 minutes)