Berlin 2013: Animated Vincent Van Gogh Film Hits Market

Vincent Van Gough P

U.K. Banner Bankside Films boards the hand-painted animated feature project "Loving Vincent" from Dorota Kobiela.

A hand-painted feature-length animation project about the untimely demise of famous impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh is putting itself in the frame for buyers at the EFM.

U.K. sales and finance banner Bankside Films is touting the project, Loving Vincent, from classically trained painter and animator Dorota Kobiela.

Billed as a crime thriller and the first-ever hand-painted movie, Kobiela's script details the story of the life and controversial death of the Dutch painter told through the words of the people he painted.

The intrigue unfolds through interviews with the characters closest to Van Gogh and through dramatic reconstructions of the events leading up to his death after he allegedly shot himself in a field outside the village of Auvers sur Oise outside Paris in July 1890.

Every frame will be an oil painting on canvas in Van Gogh’s unique style with cutting-edge animation techniques used to bring Van Gogh’s paintings to life on the screen.

Thirty painters will hand paint 56,800 frames to complete the film over a planned two-year production period for a launch in 2015, the year of the 125th anniversary of Van Gogh’s death.

A Breakthru Films/Trademark Films co-production, Loving Vincent is being co-directed and produced by Hugh Welchman, whose resume boasts the 2008 best short animation Oscar for Peter and the Wolf.

The U.K. co-producer is Ivan Mactaggart of Trademark Films, which most recently produced My Week With Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Redmayne.

Executive producers are Sean Bobbitt and Oscar winner David Parfitt.

Bankside head of sales and marketing Stephen Kelliher said: "The international reputation of Vincent Van Gogh means that the film will have true worldwide appeal and audiences everywhere will instantly recognize the recreations of his important portraits and landscapes."

Welchman said: "Sometimes something under your nose just comes up and punches you. We had this project in our slate, and so I turned up to a Van Gogh exhibition in some city and was surprised to find a four and a half hour queue ahead of me, then I realized we had to make this film, and make it now. I think Van Gogh’s images are seared on our eyeballs from youth without us really noticing, his popularity is out there and it is immense, and it turns out there are real dark twists in the recesses of history, ready to startle and amaze audiences just as much as his searing images."

Mactaggart described the project as being of those that every once in a while comes along "so compelling and so distinctive that it offers the opportunity to take part in something exceptional."