“Loving Vincent”: The story of Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh’s life told entirely with oil paintings

By on March 14, 2016

Late last month, the first trailer for Loving Vincent — a biopic based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh which promises to be the world’s first feature length painted animation — was released, and as you can see, the story is told entirely with oil paintings, 120 of them, 12 per second, with every shot painted with oil paints on canvas inspired by the famous Dutch painter’s distinctive brushstrokes.

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The upcoming film will detail the story of Van Gogh’s life — his personal correspondence in hand-written letters provides much of the narrative for the film — leading up to the tumultuous time surrounding his death some 125 years ago.

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Written and directed by filmmaker Hugh Welchman and the classically-trained Polish painter Dorota Kobiela. Welchman won the Oscar in 2006 for Best Short Film (Animated) with Peter and the Wolf, a model animation told entirely through music and visuals. You can watch their concept trailer from 2012 right here.

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Loving Vincent stars Saorise Ronan, Douglas Booth, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Aidan Turner, the production is based out of Poland, where over 100 painters are needed — and the filmmakers are still recruiting talented oil painters to travel to their headquarters in Gdansk, Poland.

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Here’s what it says about the film at their website:

Loving Vincent is an investigation delving into the life and controversial death of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the world’s most beloved painters, told by his paintings and by the characters that inhabit them. The intrigue unfolds through interviews with the characters closest to Vincent and through dramatic reconstructions of the events leading up to his death.

Loving Vincent features over one hundred and twenty of Vincent Van Gogh’s greatest paintings. The plot, drawn from the 800 letters written by the painter himself, lead us to the significant people and events in the time leading up to his unexpected death.

Loving Vincent will be the world’s first feature-length painted animation, and is brought to you by Oscar winning film companies Breakthru Films and Trademark Films. Every frame in the Loving Vincent movie is an oil painting on canvas, using the very same technique in which Vincent himself painted.

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Van Gogh struggled with depression for much of his life — most people remember that he quite famously once cut off his ear lobe and gave it to a prostitute — but, as Kobiela says in the film’s Kickstarter campaign, “Van Gogh was a man with an extraordinary passion for the world, and wanted to share his view of it through his art.”

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Loving Vincent should be in theaters by the end of the year, making cinematic history as the first fully painted feature film ever made.

Visit the website for details on the audition and recruitment process.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.