Life Love
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When it comes to viral videos, the subject matter often falls into one of two categories: violence/injustice that causes outrage, or an unintentionally hilarious moment. For the new short animated film In A Heartbeat, viral status is thanks to something else entirely, a beautiful message of love and inclusion.

Just released Monday, the animated short is only a few clicks away from an incredible 2.5 million views on YouTube in under 24 hours. In A Heartbeat follows a young high school boy named Sherwin who has a crush on fellow student Jonathan. When his heart literally jumps out of his chest to follow his crush, Sherwin is outed and retreats to the school grounds where he hides after receiving shameful and judgmental glances from his fellow students. Thankfully, all ends well when Jonathan helps Sherwin put his heart back together again.

The new short is a welcome addition to the long line of young adult love stories that typically focus on heterosexual couples, with Disney airing its first-ever same sex kiss only earlier this year on Star Wars Vs The Forces of Evil.

Although In A Heartbeat looks like the latest release from Pixar, it’s actually a student project out of the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. The film was created by student filmmakers Beth David and Esteban Bravo, with the emotional musical accompaniment from Arturo Cardelús and sound design by Nick Ainsworth.

Posting a trailer for In A Heartbeat on Kickstarter in November, the response to the film has been overwhelmingly positive from the start, say Bravo and David. Writing on the film’s official Facebook page, the filmmakers say that In A Heartbeat took over the year and a half to make, calling the beautiful and emotional project ‘a labor of love.’

Keeping fans updated on the film prior to its release on Monday, the filmmakers shared a behind the scenes look at the process, including how they conveyed emotion in the dialogue-free film. “We designed the lighting in our film to be an element that furthers the storytelling,” said the pair. “Since our short centers around the fear of being “outed,” we defined light to represent exposure and danger, and shadow to represent concealment and safety. As our characters travel through light and shadow, we get an indication of their current emotional state in the story.”

Not surprisingly, the response to the beautiful film has viewers reaching for tissues and applauding the talented filmmakers.

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