It only makes sense that a film about Vincent van Gogh be groundbreaking.
Loving Vincent is the world's first fully painted feature animation. The investigation of the artist's life and death is based on van Gogh's own paintings and an archive of 800 of his letters. Honouring van Gogh's statement that "we cannot speak other than by our paintings," the film is anchored by the artist's own works; 62,000 oil paintings on canvas (one for each frame, or 1/12th of a second), created by artists who were specifically trained in van Gogh's techniques, fill out the story.
Of van Gogh's 2000 works, only about 100 made the cut: some, like The Potato Eaters, were too much of a stylistic break from the method used for the animation. Others, including some of his most famous paintings, were sacrificed for the sake of a cohesive storyline.
There was another type of painting required to make the film: being forced to stifle their own creative flourishes in order to fit within van Gogh's distinctively energetic style, some of the team of 85 artists needed an outlet. They painted for themselves on the weekend.
The character of Vincent van Gogh does not appear in the film; instead, quotes from his letters are read out by his family, friends, and the subjects of his paintings, including Margaret Gachet (Saiorse Ronan) and Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth). Directed by painter and director Dorota Kobiela--who came up with the idea after rereading van Gogh's letters--and produced by Oscar winner Hugh Welchman, Loving Vincent is due to be released later this year.