Painted film about Van Gogh to be screened in Vietnam

14:36 | 29/09/2017 Society

The world’s first fully painted film, reflecting the life and career of Vincent Van Gogh, will be screened in Vietnam on October 6.

Artists work in the studio to make the film Loving Vincent - Photo courtesy of MVP Pictures

Loving Vincent explores the painter’s life and work by bringing to life some of his paintings to tell his story. Husband-and-wife team Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman innovated a filmmaking technique that combined traditional film shooting with painting.

Famous paintings Starry Night, Cafe Terrace at Night, Sunflowers, Wheatfield with Crows and his self-portraits inspired the film and, through the new technique, became its setting.

Director Kobiela said 125 painters, selected through an audition process, painted over 65,000 film frames on 1,000 canvases.

“We shot the film with actors, and literally painted over it frame by frame,” Kobiela said on the film’s website.

“This is a very laborious and time-consuming process. It has taken us four years to develop the technique, and it took us over two years with a team of 125 painters working at studios in the Polish cities of Gdansk and Wroclaw, and a studio in Athens to complete the film.”

The filmmakers said they made the film not to set any records, but because they believe only Van Gogh’s paintings can truly tell his story.

“We were inspired by the saying ‘we cannot speak other than by our paintings,’ written by Vincent van Gogh in a letter the week before his death,” said Kobiela.

Journey of masterpieces

Loving Vincent won the top prize at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France in June. The film’s journey began almost ten years ago when Kobiela set out to make an animated short about Van Gogh.

“I was 30 when I first came up with the idea to do this project, around the same age Vincent was when he started to paint,” Kobiela said on Animation Magazine. “More than his paintings, which I do love, it was the example of how Vincent lived that inspired me. I have battled with depression all my life, and I was inspired by how strong he was in picking himself up from similarly terrible life setbacks as a young man, and finding through art, a way to bring beauty to the world.”

Welchman, who is based in Poland and has produced several well-received animated projects such as the Oscar-winning short Peter & the Wolf (2006) and The Flying Machine (2011), says he became absolutely obsessed with Van Gogh’s enigmatic life and phenomenal achievements.

They invited painters from around the world to audition for the film.
MVP Pictures Company bought the copyright and organised the film Loving Vincent premiere in Vietnam on October 6. The film opens sooner here than in the UK (October 13), according to Vu Hai Dang, distribution manager of the company.

Dang said the company was impressed by the film during its crowd-funding effort held in 2014.

“It’s really a daring and inspirational project,” said Dang. “We are impressed by the talent and effort of the crew. The film is a masterpiece about the masterpieces left by Van Gogh. That’s the reason why we try to introduce the independent film in Vietnam.”

MVP Pictures is the distributor of independent films like Chef, A Monster Calls and Light Between The Oceans.

Dang said the company wants to present Vietnamese audience with good independent films beside commercial entertainment films.

“Independent films distributed in Vietnam haven’t enjoyed large audiences like in other countries in the region,” said he.

Vietnamese audiences often enjoy independent films at film festivals or via the Internet. Dang expects that in the near future artistic films like Loving Vincent will attract larger audiences.

Theo VNA