The animated short In a Heartbeat, which tells the story of two teen boys who find love and sheds light on the challenges faced by gay children, is currently giving the internet all the feels.
The film—described on its official tumblr page as the story of "a closeted boy who runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams"—follows the story of Sherwin, a redhead who has a crush on BMOC Jonathan, but is afraid to show his emotions. And it's already racked up over 22 million views since first being uploaded to YouTube on July 31.
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2REkk9SCRn0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]
The short was created by filmmakers Beth David and Esteban Bravo while at Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida, who explained in a video for Buzzfeed that since they felt underepresented growing up LGBT, they decided it was time for a change—though they initially envisioned the story playing out not as a gay romance, but with a hetero couple.
"The very first time it was pitched, it was between a boy and a girl," David admitted. "And it was, you know, cute and everything. But we didn't quite connect with it yet. We decided, 'let's try it this way, let's try it with a same-sex couple.' And all of a sudden it just felt like 'Of course!' That's absolutely the kind of story that needs to be told."
The film was a labor of love that took about a year and a half and a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $14,000, despite an initial goal of only $3,000. The donations were used to hire composer Arturo Cardelús, who created the film's powerful original score—money well spent since the story unfolds without any words.
Any yet somehow, despite not single line of dialogue, David and Bravo have managed to touch millions of viewers around the world with their simple message of inclusion. The film has also inspired its fans to flood social media with tons of creative edits, GIFs and pieces of In a Heartbeat-themed art:
Even celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Ashton Kutcher have voiced their approval:
Pretty cool. But at the end of the day, David and Bravo's goal is for the film to help those who are struggling with identity, and educate those who lack understanding.
Want the latest parenting news? Sign up for our Parents Daily newsletter
"Anybody can feel this way," David explained. "It doesn't matter where you come from or what you look like or who you are."