Ringling College of Art & Design
There’s a lot of amazing talent coming out of this country’s schools for art and animation, but it’s not often their work gets seen outside of film festivals or maybe when they’re lucky enough to get awards attention.
That’s why it’s quite amazing for IN A HEARTBEAT, one such animated short directed by Beth David and Esteban Bravo, graduates of the Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida — this was their senior thesis! — to get enough attention to go viral this past week.
The animated short was launched on YouTube on Monday, July 31, and it began circulating through social media, praised by celebrities and picked up by numerous news outlets big and small — all conveniently listed on Ringling’s website. By the weekend, it had amassed nearly 18 million views on its YouTube channel.
Now, mind you, there can be a lot of hyperbole when it comes to ANYTHING on the internet these days. Everything is the best or worst, and there is only those two extremes. We’ve all seen it.
That said, this 4 minute wordless short is quite wonderful, since it deals with heartfelt emotions that aren’t normally explored by the mainstream animation studios’ films. Frankly, it shows a great deal of storytelling talent we don’t often see from them either. (I haven’t seen many of this year’s big studio animation releases, but going by word-of-mouth and the reviews, few of them are that memorable.)
So along comes something like In a Heartbeat, and it kind of perks you up that there’s talent out there exploring these emotions in an easily-consumed way. That’s not even to mention the fact that the short is about a boy’s crush for another boy, which is actually far more common than you might realize.
I’ve been a film festival juror quite a few times over the past couple years and watched more than my share of animated shorts in that capacity — as well as many of the Oscar-nominated animated shorts from the past decade — and In A Heartbeat is up there with some of the best.
Instead of spending any more time telling you what you should think or how you should feel about this creative piece of work, you can watch In A Heartbeat for yourself below, but don’t be too surprised if we hear more from the duo of David and Bravo.
Chances are that they’re already being courted by the likes of Pixar, DreamWorks, and other animation houses to see if they have any other ideas, and yeah, I wouldn’t be even remotely surprised if In a Heartbeat ends up on the shortlist for the Academy Awards. (Although it might have to play at a bunch of film festivals to be included.)
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor