Gather round, y'all, because I'm about to show you the cutest thing you'll see all day (read: millennium). A new short film has surfaced online, and it is exactly the kind of wholesome we need to see this year. The film, called In A Heartbeat, was made as a portion of two students' senior theses at Ringling College of Art and Design. The students, Beth David and Esteban Bravo, put together a Kickstarter to raise money for their project, which was overwhelmingly supported by donors. Now, you can stream In A Heartbeat on YouTube.
The film is different from any animated film we've seen for one major reason: The main characters are gay. As the creators of In A Heartbeat mention in their Kickstarter campaign video,
Being gay is a subject that hasn't been widely explored in computer animation... We want to put out a message of love and self-acceptance to all the kids and young people who struggle to identify as LGBT+.
The film follows a middle-school aged boy named Sherwin whose heart can't help but to leap out of his chest every time the most popular boy in school, Jonathan, walks by. Sherwin doesn't know how to react to his heart's obvious crush on Jonathan, so he chases it and tries to catch it in order to avoid being embarrassed and possibly bullied by his peers. As the less-than-five-minute video moves on, though, both of the boys discover an entirely new and very confusing piece of their personalities as they find they're attracted to each other.
Simply put: I'm not crying, you are. The journey that Jonathan's heart goes through in In A Heartbeat captures the feeling that everyone has at some point when they experience their first crush, and shows that we're all alike; more importantly, though, the film expresses that same-sex attraction is normal and not something any of us can control, despite how hard we may try.
I can't stress enough how important it is to see a film like this in 2017. Self-discovery is a difficult process for anyone, so it's incredible to see a film that speaks to LGBT+ youth in order to help better understand the emotionally overwhelming and confusing time that is discovering yourself and discovering you're gay. Finally, we have characters that gay kids can see themselves in and a video that reassures them they are not broken, they are not alone, and their emotions are normal.
I guess all that is left to say is thank you, Esteban and Beth, for your hard work to get this conversation started. Next stop: full-length film.