Protecting LGBT Youth & Providing Solutions – YouTube Falls Hard for ‘In a Heartbeat,’ a Boy-Meets-Boy Story, Nytimes

 

… to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.

 

Celebrities have taken note. Ashton Kutcher posted an article about it on Facebook. “This speaks for itself, even without dialogue,” he wrote.

*

Dr. Sean Griffin, a professor at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, said he believes it can be especially meaningful to adolescents who are figuring out their sexuality. “It turns a situation that is often fraught with extreme emotions — excitement, anxiety, fear, and potentially shame and embarrassment — into one that is ‘cartoony’ by literalizing the runaway heart, thus making it a bit more amusing,” he said.

*

Nick Davis, an associate professor of English at Northwestern University who has written about sexuality and gender in film, said it was gratifying to see such a variety.

*

“It’s mind-blowing to me,” Ms. David said in an interview, adding that people want to see gay-themed stories “in a positive light.”

*

“Even back then I knew it was going to be something special,” he said in an email. “If an audience doesn’t connect with a film and its characters on a basic story level, it fails,” but this film, he said, “resonates a truth.”

*

Photo

Esteban Bravo and Beth David, makers of the animated short “In a Heartbeat.” Credit Jeremy Edelblut

 

It’s hard to forget your first childhood crush — and the anxiety that accompanied it. (Do you like me? Circle yes or no.) That heart-pounding, sweaty-palmed infatuation is nothing new in children’s animation, but two students decided to tell the tale in a different way, creating an animated short film that is drawing the interest of big production studios.

The filmmakers, Beth David, 21, and Esteban Bravo, 24, made the short for their senior thesis while at Ringling College of Art and Design, where they recently graduated, in Sarasota, Fla.

“It’s mind-blowing to me,” Ms. David said in an interview, adding that people want to see gay-themed stories “in a positive light.”

Mr. Bravo, who is from Mexico City, was similarly stunned by the response. “It’s really surreal,” he said, adding later, “I hope I give a good name to people from my country.”

Their animation tells the story of Sherwin, a redhead who has a crush on Jonathan, described on the film’s Tumblr page as “the most popular boy in school.” Sherwin is afraid to show his emotions, but no matter — his heart volunteers for the mission, literally jumping out of his chest and bounding toward the boy who caught his eye. The heart wants what the heart wants.

A scene from “In a Heartbeat,” where a character’s heart has a mind of its own.

It’s a tale that is very personal to viewers, who have responded en masse, and to the filmmakers, too. Mr. Bravo is gay, and Ms. David — while she doesn’t necessarily like to label herself — says she considers herself “a member of the gay community.”

“Even back then I knew it was going to be something special,” he said in an email. “If an audience doesn’t connect with a film and its characters on a basic story level, it fails,” but this film, he said, “resonates a truth.”

 

The release of “In a Heartbeat” might seem particularly timely given recent headlines. President Trump has announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military, and his Justice Department has asserted that civil rights law doesn’t protect gay employees from discrimination. But the filmmakers say that their intent was not political when they posted their short online at the end of July.

“If anything we’re just glad that we’re getting to release it right now because I feel, and we both said, it’ll help change some people’s perspectives around the amount of controversy and hatred that’s been going around lately,” Mr. Bravo said. “We just hope that this helps to change, or begin changing, what people think about people in this community and try to understand them better.”

Perhaps one secret to the charm of “In a Heartbeat” is its simplicity: The story is told without words, just music and animation.

“I think audiences do like discovering something that’s not built to bowl you over, but just kind of unexpectedly does,” Mr. Davis said.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s