Starry Starry Night


The Directors of ‘Loving Vincent’

By Janice Carter Levitch

“Loving Vincent,” the world’s first fully oil painted feature film, has now been screened to sold-out audiences more than 70 times at the Speed Art Museum. This fact alone caught the attention of the remarkable directors who have devoted over seven years of their artistic time and talent to pioneer this amazing film. The film was written and directed by the married team of Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman and produced by Poland’s BreakThru Films and British production company Trademark Films.

Dean Otto, curator of film at the Speed Art Museum, started clearing the way to bring “Loving Vincent” to the 138-seat Speed Cinema when he first read about it as the anticipation grew through social media. The paintings of Vincent van Gogh are brought to life, telling the extraordinary story of his experience as an artist and the mystery of how he lived and died. The film synopsis from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, also known as simply “The Academy”) reads as follows: “In the summer of 1891, Armand Roulin is given a letter by his postman father to deliver to Theo, the brother of recently deceased artist Vincent van Gogh. Upon learning that Theo is also dead, Armand travels to the village where the troubled artist lived his final weeks in an effort to understand both his life and death.”

The statistical analysis is staggering. Every one of the 65,000 frames of the film is an oil-painting created by hand by a carefully selected entourage of 125 professional oil-painters who travelled from all across the world to the “Loving Vincent” studios in Poland and Greece to be a part of the production.

The sold-out screenings at the Speed Cinema inspired Kobiela and Welchman to arrange a meet-and-greet along with a question and answer session recently at the cinema. En route to the Oscars for their nomination as best animated feature film, they were enthusiastic and welcomed the opportunity to stop over and acquaint themselves with what was happening at Speed Cinema. For a little over an hour, they discussed how “Loving Vincent” came to be as art enthusiasts sat poised on the edge of their seats, listening intently to every word.

Welchman captivated the audience with his British accent and certain resemblance to Vincent van Gogh along with his genuine delight to answer every question with enthusiasm.

Kobiela is a Polish filmmaker, screenwriter and producer, who thrilled attendees as an artist extraordinaire. While “Loving Vincent” is no longer showing at the Speed, there are DVDs of the film for sale in the Speed store. You can also go to LovingVincent.com to learn how you can watch it in the comfort of your own home. VT