Animated Short Scored by Alumnus Arturo Cardelús Becomes YouTube Sensation

Kimberly Ashton
August 7, 2017
A still from the animated short 'In a Heartbeat'
Composer Arturo Cardelús '11
Image courtesy of Beth David and Esteban Bravo
Image courtesy of Arturo Cardelús

Released on YouTube just one week ago, the animated short In a Heartbeat, scored by Arturo Cardelús ‘11, has earned more than 21 million views and the attention of national media, including the New York Times, the Guardian, and NBC.

Cardelús calls the short “one of the most beautiful projects” he’s ever worked on. It tells the story of a middle-school boy, Sherwin, whose heart pops out of his chest and chases after a boy he has a crush on, Jonathan. The filmmakers, Beth David and Esteban Bravo, created the piece for their senior thesis at Ringling College of Art and Design. In an interview with the New York Times, David said that part of the reason the film has been such a hit is that people want to see gay-themed stories in a positive light.

Watch In a Heartbeat:

David and Bravo wanted to hire Cardelús after hearing his soundtrack for the short film The Answers. But to hire a professional composer—Cardelús has scored the feature film Call Me Francis and has composed pieces for members of the Berlin Philharmonic—on a student budget is tough, so they set up a Kickstarter fund to cover his fee. The campaign eventually raised more than $14,000, and the two were able to fly to Los Angeles for a live recording of the score.

Cardelús said he wanted to create a soundtrack that was lighthearted at the beginning and then emotional after Sherwin’s feelings are revealed. The result is a score that manages to capture the innocence of Sherwin, the buoyancy of his plucky heart, and the tenderness of both. The melody is an homage to the Fifth Symphony by one of Cardelús' favorite composers, Jean Sibelius.

But the beauty of In a Heartbeat lies not just in its music. For Cardelús, it also comes from the film's ability to elicit sympathy with the struggle many teens face when coming to terms with their sexuality. “I think this short can help a lot of people,” he said.