With advancements in computer graphics accelerating with each passing second, the days of hand-drawn animation are seemingly long gone. Disney’s underappreciated “The Princess and the Frog” and “Winnie the Pooh” were the last times the Mouse House brought pen to paper, Studio Ghibli may soon call it quits and hardly any animated films — outside the anime genre — were released beyond stop-motion and CG last year. It’s dour times for traditional animation. So, thankfully, the Polish-based studio BreakThru Productions is bringing things back old-school. Like, oil-paintings old-school. They’ve released the first trailer for “Loving Vincent,” the first full-length film animated entirely by oil paintings. Talk about going back to the drawing board.
Composed of nearly 57,000 oil paintings in the style of Vincent Van Gogh, the new film from directors Dorota Kobiela and Academy Award-winner Hugh Welchman is an absolute beauty to behold. It’s the work of over 100 animators telling the story of the legendary animator interacting in personal interviews with his most-famous portraits. The result, found via No Film School, is a 12-oil-paints-per-second dazzler, created in a painstakingly detailed and groundbreaking process the studio coins “stop-motion painting.”
Without overstressing it, it’s truly a first in filmmaking history. The closest anyone’s come to creating something similar was in 1999, when Aleksandr Petrov released his Oscar-winning 20-minute adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” made entirely from pastel oil paintings on glass. That short can be found here. Needless to say, this is a remarkable accomplishment and, hopefully, one that doesn’t fall through the cracks. Unlike Van Gogh himself, this artistry should be celebrated during its time. Because who knows when we’ll get something like this again. Featuring performances by Aidan Turner, Saoirse Ronan and Helen McCrory, there’s no official word on its release, but we’ll keep on the lookout. In the meantime, check out the amazing trailer below.