Two computer animation majors at Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida just released their senior thesis project, a short animated film about two young boys in love, and well, you might need a box of tissues.
In a Heartbeat follows Sherwin, a middle schooler who’s living in the closet. He sees his crush, Jonathan, “the most popular boy in school” and his heart — literally — pops out of his chest and sparks a chase for him to get it back before being outed at school.
It’s an emotional roller coaster with the sweetest ending, and the internet is praising it — and making it go viral.
Friend: Are you… are you still thinkin bout– Me: It’s just “In a Heartbeat” encapsulated a complex struggle I’ve had in such a short ti
In a Heartbeat producers Beth David and Esteban Bravo, who just wrapped their senior year at Ringling, described the project on their Kickstarter page as “not only a culmination of our four years of education and hard work at the college, but also an expression of a subject that has not been explored in computer animation.”
“It’s a film that deals with a real and personal topic in a very sweet and lighthearted way.”
They launched the Kickstarter in November 2016 to raise $3,000 for a sound designer. They ended up getting $14,000, almost five times their goal. For the past year they’ve been storyboarding, working on art, modeling and animating the project before showcasing it to the world. And now it’s already racked up over 4 million views and counting on YouTube — and it’s trending in the top 10 videos just 24 hours after its release.
“We hope that our film will inspire understanding in people from all walks of life that the heart wants what the heart wants and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Bravo said in a video on the Kickstarter page.
LGBTQ representation is meager at best in the world of animation. And in live action, the stats are dismal too. In the top 100 films of 2016, of about 5,000 speaking characters, only 51 or 1.1% were lesbian, gay or bisexual. The majority of these characters were gay males (36), nine were lesbian, six were bisexual and none were transgender, according to a USC Annenberg report.
But, if the internet has its way, that could change soon with the help of films like In a Heartbeat.
Sophia Tulp is an Ithaca College student and a USA TODAY College intern.