Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most famous and prolific artists of all time, is having his story told in a new film by BreakThru Productions and Trademark Film. Loving Vincent, which explores the life and mysterious death of the modernist painter, is unlike any other movie before it.

This will be the first fully painted feature length film; that is, the entire movie will consist of 56,800 consecutive hand-painted frames, produced over the past two years. Each painting is produced in the post-Impressionist style of Van Gogh.

Since pre-production began on the film in 2014, almost 100 artists have participated in the painting process. The project particularly sought to hire highly qualified painters and animators who were holding temporary or full-time jobs that did not capitalize on their creative talents.

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, Vincent Van Gogh, Photo: Martin Beek / Flickr
Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, Vincent Van Gogh, Photo: Martin Beek / Flickr

Artists produce canvases at workstations designed specifically for the production. “No one had set up an infrastructure to make painting animation at scale,” said producer and co-director Hugh Welchman, inspiring BreakThru to create its own system for the “stop-motion painting” production.

The film takes its inspiration from the 860 paintings, 1026 drawings, and 800 letters Van Gogh produced in the last eight years of his life.

The story will explore how the artist failed as an art dealer, book clerk, and preacher, before picking up a paintbrush for the first time at the age of 29 and creating an enormous and amazing body of work before his untimely death at 37.

Loving Vincent will include 120 of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings and will feature fictional interviews with the subjects of his portraits in order to tell his story.

Starry Night on the Rhone, Vincent Van Gogh, Photo: Lu Tianyu / Flickr
Starry Night on the Rhone, Vincent Van Gogh, Photo: Lu Tianyu / Flickr

The film is directed by Dorota Kobela and Hugh Welchman and stars Aidan Turner, Saoirse Ronan and Helen McCrory. BreakThru Productions won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2008 for Peter and the Wolf.

Loving Vincent is set for release later this year. Watch the latest trailer below and visit the film’s official website.