EXCLUSIVE: Edward Noeltner is Cannes-bound with world sales rights to the prestige Vincent Van Gogh ‘painted animation’ starring Douglas Booth, Saoirse Ronan, Jerome Flynn and Chris O’Dowd.

Loving Vincent

Oscar-winning stables Breakthru Films and Trademark Films are behind Loving Vincent, which tells of the final months and mysterious death of the famously troubled 19th century Dutch post-Impressionist.

Production got underway last week at Three Mills Studio in London’s East End and principal animation will continue in Gdansk.

Eleanor Tomlinson, Helen McCrory, John Sessions and Aidan Turner round out the key cast on what the producers cite as the world’s first ‘painted animation’ feature.

They plan to bring Van Gogh’s masterpieces to life using the Painted Animation Workstation system patented by Breakthru Films, Hugh Welchman’s London and Poland-based company that won the best animation short Oscar for Peter & The Wolf in 2008.

The filmmakers will project live-action footage frame-by-frame onto canvas and deploy a team of 60 artists to paint over the images in oils in the style of Van Gogh. 

It is estimated the painters will work for a year to complete the 57,800 oil paintings required to make up the film.

Executive producer David Parfitt, founder of London’s Trademark Films and a producer on the 1999 best picture Oscar-winner Shakespeare In Love, introduced the project to Cinema Management Group (CMG) president Noeltner at a Film London dinner reception in early March.

“I couldn’t have been happier to meet David that night and to learn that Loving Vincent was available for international,” said Noeltner, who travelled to London to round out his animation slate.

“We attended the Film London event looking for the right, high-concept, artistically unique project with worldwide appeal and immediately fell in love with Loving Vincent.”

Dorota Kobiela and Welchman direct from their screenplay and Welchman produces alongside Ivan Mactaggart. Sean Bobbitt serves as executive producer with Parfitt.

Animation titles on CMG’s Cannes slate includes the world premiere of Ratchet & Clank, based on the Sony PlayStation franchise that has sold more than 27million video games worldwide.

Adventures In Zambezia, Saving Santa and Khumba – all licensed by Noeltner and his team at recent markets – have collectively grossed more than $70m worldwide.