Hugh Welchman Interview: ‘Loving Vincent’ director
During our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above), Hugh Welchman reveals that the film “Loving Vincent” started with an idea from his wife, Dorota Kobiela. A professional painter making her living in animation and visual effects for movies, “she decided that she would combine her two passions and she’d paint film. She was going to do it all herself, and it was going to be a short film.” After the two met and fell in love, he convinced her to create “the world’s first fully painted feature film.”
Together, Kobiela and Welchman directed a biographical drama on the life of painter Vincent van Gogh, and the circumstances surrounding his death. Each frame of the 94 minute feature was hand painted by a team of 100 artists, using the style of van Gogh’s groundbreaking artwork. “[van Gogh’s] painting are oil paint on canvas,” explains Welchman, “and so in terms of animation, what was going to look the most authentic and the most appropriate for his work was oil painting on canvas animation. The whole point was to bring his paintings to life to tell his story, and so the way we could be most faithful to him was to do this.” That was easier said than done, considering that the process is “incredibly slow.”
Welchman is already an Oscar winner in the Animated Short category for “Peter & the Wolf” (2006). He has worked as a producer on over 20 animated short films, and has also served as visual effects supervisor on such titles as “La Vie en Rose” (2007) and “The Flying Machine” (2011). “Loving Vincent” is his directorial debut.
“Loving Vincent” competes at BAFTA for Best Animated Film, and at the Annie Awards for Best Writing.