Animated movies can often tell stories in a way that live-action movies cannot.
Such is the case with "In a Heartbeat," a short film by Esteban Bravo and Beth David. The cartoon, which premiered on YouTube Monday, tells the story of Sherwin, a closeted boy who risks "being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest" to chase down his crush, Jonathan.
"In a Heartbeat" was a Kickstarter project, and 416 backers pledged $14,191 to bring it to life — more than four times the amount of money Bravo and David sought.
"This film is not only a culmination of our four years of education and hard work at the college, but also an expression of a subject that has not been explored in computer animation," they said of the monthlong campaign, which ended in December 2016. "It's a film that deals with a real and personal topic in a very sweet and lighthearted way and we are so excited to be able to share it with you!"
The four-minute tale was produced at the Ringling College of Art and Design.
Arturo Cardels created the music, and Nick Ainsworth served as the sound director.
Since its debut, "In a Heartbeat" has garnered nearly 5 million views on YouTube.
Many people praised the filmmakers for sharing a common story of gay youth with the masses. No major movie studio sufficiently represents LGBTQ characters onscreen, according to an annual survey from GLAAD published in May.
"We continue to see many of the same problems repeatedly. This includes LGBTQ characters who lack substance and are often treated only as a punch line, a dangerous message which keeps old prejudices alive both here in the U.S. and around the world," GLADD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement, adding that "GLAAD will continue to hold Hollywood accountable for who they are--or are not--representing."