Beth David and Esteban Bravo wanted to create the kind of film that they wished they could have seen as children.
So when the two animation students teamed up together for their college thesis project a year and a half ago, they decided to tell the story of a boy and his crush in a way that would be more resonant with the experiences they had 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 resonated with a lot of people, and the two animation students at Ringling School of Art and Design in Florida were able to raise more than $14,000 on Kickstarter to finance the making of the film last December. When a trailer for the film was finally released in the spring, the short clip went viral across social media and was viewed more than one million times.
Now the completed animated short film — titled “In a Heartbeat” — has just been released on Vimeo and Youtube, and the YouTube clip alone has garnered nearly 2.4 million views in just one day. David and Bravo hope the film can help tackle what they believe is a lack of LGBTQ representation in media and animation.