In a Heartbeat is a 2017 computer-animated short film produced by Ringling College of Art and Design. Written and directed by Esteban Bravo and Beth David, the project was funded through Kickstarter where it racked up a total of $14,191 from 416 backers on a goal of $3,000. The short film concerns a closeted boy who has a crush on another boy and his heart's desire to be with him. The short has received wide praise on various platforms.
Sherwin, a shy ginger haired boy, arrives at school awaiting the arrival of the handsome Jonathan. Sherwin hides in a tree and watches as Jonathan walks by reading a book and eating an apple. Suddenly, Sherwin's heart begins to beat rapidly and becomes anthropomorphic, leaving his body and chasing after Jonathan. Sherwin attempts to grab and hide his heart resulting in various awkward encounters with Jonathan. Eventually, Sherwin chases his heart inside the school and grabs it. Then the heart grabs Jonathan's finger. The situation becomes uncomfortable as other students see the two and look on in disdain. The heart breaks in two and Sherwin runs away with one half. Outside the school, Sherwin sits solemnly when Jonathan walks up and sits next to him. They join the heart back together and it happily springs to life. The scene fades to black with Sherwin and Jonathan's hearts glowing and they form into one.
Production on the short started in January 2016, when Esteban Bravo and Beth David were approached by a friend to produce a short film about a boy's heart popping out of their chest. The initial pitch featured a boy and a girl, but at the last minute decided to switch it to a same-sex couple in order to make the story feel "more personal". They made a Kickstarter page in November 2016 to complete the film and earned more than enough of the requested amount. A trailer was released on May 17, 2017 and the short film was released on July 31, 2017.
The short received overwhelmingly universal praise for its animation, progressive message and emotional resonance. The short blew up on YouTube, with an estimated 25 million views, and has been passed on through Facebook and Twitter.
Since its launch, the film has received numerous awards and has been shown at numerous LGBT events and film festivals including:
- 2017 Animation Shorts Film Festival – Official Selection
- 2017 ASIFA-SOUTH Animation Conference and Festival – Official Selection
- 2017 Lake View International Film Festival – Winner
- 2017 North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival – Jury Award
- 2017 Trinity Film Festival – Alumni Choice Award
- TAIS Animation Showcase 2017 – Official Selection