It’s not science fiction, but how it’s being done almost qualifies. Loving Vincent is about the life and times of Vincent van Gogh, but it’s not just being animated, which would be plenty cool enough. Instead, it’s being painted, one frame at a time, in oils. This is the same medium used by Van Gogh himself, and it’s the first time any motion picture has ever been created this way.

The film brings the painter and his work to life in his own style, as a series of vignettes based on Van Gogh’s own paintings. The results are astonishing, even in this short trailer. It has taken four years to produce,  twice as long as originally projected. It is fairly obvious why, though. The 80 minute film is compromised of 56,800 individually painted frames, done by about 200 artists.

Today is the master Van Gogh’s birthday. He was born 163 years ago today. Not having achieved fame or recognition in his own lifetime, he would have been astonished at how his work came to be beloved by all the world.

Loving Vincent is being produced in Poland by Breakthrough Films  under the guiding hands of directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, and is due out some time this year.