SPEARFISH | Matthews Opera House will host the South Dakota premiere of the completely hand-painted movie, “Loving Vincent.”

The film about the last days of famed painter, Vincent van Gogh, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 and 18, and at 2 p.m. Nov. 19, at the Matthews Opera House.

Currently, the opera house is the only South Dakota venue scheduled to show the film created by Break Thru Films.

To celebrate the movie and the life of the artist, Spearfish will host three weeks artistically inspired activities for every age group -- from painting classes, to recreating van Gogh's art with Legos, and a citywide scavenger hunt for Vincent van Gogh paper figurines.

Jayne Rose, marketing director for Matthews Opera House, credited community engagement manager Cassidy Schoenfelder with making it all come together.

“She decided to call the producer responsible for releasing the film,” Rose recalled.

Once the particulars over royalties were worked out, Spearfish was ready.

“She wanted something to offer folks in the area, which we knew would never come to the Spearfish theater,” Rose said.

In fact, the movie is receiving such wide acclaim not only for its subject matter, but the meticulous and awe-inspiring dedication that went into hand-painting each of the film’s 65,000 frames, that people from as far away as Minnesota, Colorado and Wyoming, are making the trek to the Black Hills to catch the movie.

Rose said she previewed the movie in her home.

“It was amazing. I thought I knew everything about Vincent … and I didn’t,” Rose said.

“Loving Vincent” is not just a movie. It is artwork brought to life.

The movie was first shot as a live action film with actors.

Then 125 professional artists, each of whom trained two years to learn how to paint each frame of the movie in oil paint, spent the next 10 years transforming live action into living art.

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The final effect is an interaction of the performance of the actors playing Vincent’s famous portraits and the performance of the animators who bring these characters into the medium of paint.

“The art form of film is different from painting. Painting is one particular moment in time. Film is fluid, seeming to move through space and time. So prior to, and during the live action shoot, the Painting Design team spent one year re-imagining Vincent’s painting into the medium of film,” producers wrote in the film’s press kit.

There are 94 van Gogh paintings that feature in a form very close to the original and there are 31 paintings that are either featured substantially or partially.

Then the Character Design Painters re-imagined the actors as their famous portraits, so that they would retain their own features and at the same time recognizably take on the look and the feeling of their character in the painting, according to the "Loving Vincent" press kit.

During this process, 377 paintings were made.

The painting animators then stepped in to add the painting style -- brushstrokes, colors and impasto. They then animate the shot by repainting, matching the brushstrokes, color and impasto of their previous frame, for all the parts of the shot that are moving

In the end, the audience sees 65,000 high resolution photographs of actual oil paintings.

“The film is an experience. It crosses an artistic threshold by using so many mediums of art,” Schoenfelder said.

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