When Beth David and Esteban Bravo decided they wanted to make a film together, they concluded that they wanted to created the kind of film that they wish they had seen when they were younger. The two animation students teamed up for a college thesis project, and chose to tell the story of a boy and his crush that resonates with the type of experiences they had when they were growing up.
“The original pitch was a story between a boy and a girl,” David told NBC News. “But it wasn’t until we made it about a same-gender crush that the idea really started to take form and resonate with Esteban and I. We realized that we had something that could potentially be really special to us.”
The idea of the film clearly resonated with a lot of people and the two students from Ringling School of Art and Design in Florida, managed to raise more than $14,000 on Kickstarter to pay for the creation of the film.
The completed video, which can be seen below, is titled “In a Heartbeat” and has just been released on both Vimeo and YouTube. The YouTube clip alone has collected over 2.5 million views in one day, and it’s safe to say that people are absolutely loving it.
David and Bravo said they hope the film can tackle a lack of LGBTQ representation across the media and in animation.
“There have been a few nods to the LGBTQ community in recent children’s programming… but it’s very rare that an LGBTQ character is given the spotlight,” Bravo said. “Especially in a medium like animation that is predominantly geared towards children and family.”
Bravo continued, saying: “With [“In a Heartbeat”], we wanted to challenge the preconceived notion that LGBTQ content is not appropriate or suitable for younger audiences. It’s an innocent and lighthearted story about a boy and his crush that we hope will resonate with younger people regardless of their background.”
The story tells the tale of a school-aged boy who is outed by his heart, which pops out of his chest when he sees a male classmate who he has a crush on. The film follows the story of the boy trying to contain his heart, while also trying to contain his emotions after his crush is revealed.
The two say that the film is extremely personal to them, and that after they finished the film, it felt like “we had written a letter to our past selves.” While the majority of feedback of the short animation has been hugely positive, the pair say that they have also received a bit of backlash due to the themes that the film discusses.
Take a look at the the animation below and see what you think.
Speaking of the reception to the film, David said: “When our first launched, there was some backlash coming from the weird, angry part of the internet,” however, she says the majority of the feedback has been positive: “But it pales in comparison to the kind and compassionate messages we’ve gotten since.”
David continues, saying: “We tried to tell this story from a genuine place, and be as emotionally honest as we could about how especially layered this experience is for LGBTQ kids.”
Whatever you think of the story and how you can relate to it, In A Heartbeat is well worth checking out – if only for the beauty of the animation. Also, at the end of the day, we’ve all gone through the embarrassment of having a crush on someone, and it’s important that kids in the LGBTQ community understand that they are not alone in their feelings.