World’s first hand-painted film, Loving Vincent, vies for an Oscar

All 65,000 frames in Oscar-nominated film, Loving Vincent, were hand-painted in van Gogh's post-impressionist style

Oscar-hopeful Loving Vincent is the world's first animated feature film painted by hand - all 65,000 frames - in the distinct style of Vincent van Gogh.

Centred on a probe into his untimely death, the film was shot on a budget of US$5.5 million (S$7.3 million) - 30 times less than Disney's Coco, one of the film's four Oscar rivals.

For director Dorota Kobiela, Loving Vincent has been a seven-year labour of love combining her twin passions of cinema and painting.

"Van Gogh's style is perfect for the project; his paintings show all the details of his life, his day-to-day habits, his house, his room, his friends," Kobiela told AFP ahead of Sunday's Oscars in Los Angeles.

Kobiela and co-director Hugh Welchman, who is also her husband, already have one Oscar under their belts; their BreakThru Productions film company won an Academy Award in 2008 for the animated short Peter And The Wolf, based on the story and music by Sergei Prokofiev.

After five years of pre-production, it took another two years for 125 artists to bring the opus to life under Kobiela's direction.

Working in a studio in Gdansk, Poland, they based their oil paintings on scenes initially shot on film with actors.

The film includes representations of van Gogh's most famous paintings such as The Starry Night. Van Gogh, known for his bold colours and rough, vibrant painting style, is considered one of the most revolutionary painters of the 19th century.

Painting the 93-minute-long movie was a painstaking task. One second of the film required an average of 12 hand-painted frames. Each artist finished about six paintings a day, amounting to a half-second of the film for simple scenes.