VIFF presented the world’s first fully-painted feature film, Loving Vincent, last September 28 and 30. Both days were packed with art enthusiasts eager to peak into the life of one of the most contoversial painters of the 19th century.

Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s remarkable animated work brings to life the paintings of Vincent van Gogh via a kind of rotoscoping technique similar to the one used in Richard Linklater’s Waking Life but with an obsessive attention to detail never seen before. To wit: the film took seven years to make, and each of its 65,000 frames was hand-painted by one of 115 professional oil-painters.

More than 130 paintings by van Gogh serve as the initial backgrounds for a kind of detective tale wherein Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), the son of the postmaster in Arles, tries to understand how the painter (Robert Gulaczyk) could go from the tranquil artist he knew to a suicide in only six weeks. Travelling from Arles in the south, where van Gogh produced some of his most amazing work, to Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris, where the painter died and is buried (alongside brother Theo), Roulin questions those close to van Gogh in his quest for knowledge. And all the while, he is immersed in the world of the master’s paintings—and so are we.