ByJonathan Patrick, writer at
The Geek Desk
Jonathan Patrick

The new animated short film In a Heartbeat has taken the internet by storm, leaving us swimming in tears of the happy kind. The film provides a rare glimpse into the lives of gay children. It also reminds us that the heart wants what it wants.

In a Heartbeat joins the ranks of several other unique and stunning animated shorts. From Disney and Pixar to college student projects, numerous films have come out over the years that explore the different sides of romance. If you're in the mood for love and inspiration, these five animated shorts are some of the best out there and are well worth watching.

1. Lava

'Lava' [Credit: Walt Disney Pictures]
'Lava' [Credit: Walt Disney Pictures]

Lava follows the love story of two volcanoes, Uku and Lele, over millions of years. Uku is a lonely volcano on a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean. Each day, he sings a song about his desire to have someone to "lava" (love). As years go by, he slowly sinks into the ocean. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, another volcano, Lele, has been forming underwater nearby. Inspired by Uku's song and their mutual love, Lele began growing towards the surface.

Years pass and, as the landmass shifts, Lele becomes a tall volcano above the ocean's surface. Tragically, she grew facing the wrong direction and couldn't see Uku, who was sinking behind her. She sings Uku's song in hopes of reaching him, but he is soon completely underwater. Will her song be able to lift him back to the surface?

Lava was produced by Pixar and released alongside Disney's Inside Out in 2015. The narrative is told using the song, "Lava," which was performed by Kuana Torres Kahele and Napua Greig, who voiced the two volcanoes. Lava won the Best 3D Short Creative Arts award from the Advanced Imaging Society in 2015.

2. The Paperman

Set in 1940s New York City, The Paperman tells the story George and Meg, who first see each other on a train platform. While waiting for his train, a gust of wind slaps a piece of his paper onto her face. Meg removes the paper, with her lipstick imprinted on it. Before George works up the nerve to introduce himself, Meg is already on her train.

Convinced Meg is gone forever, a despondent George sits as his desk making paper planes. Then, he spots Meg from his office window. By chance, she is interviewing in the building across the street. He decides to try to get her attention using what's handy — his paper airplanes. Armed with passion, determination and a big stack of paper, will he be able to get to Meg?

The Paperman is a black-and-white 3D romantic comedy that accompanied the theatrical release of Wreck-It Ralph in 2012. The Disney short blends traditional animation with modern technology. It won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2013.

3. Water Lily — Birth Of The Lotus

'Water Lily – Birth of the Lotus' [Credit: Supinfocom]
'Water Lily – Birth of the Lotus' [Credit: Supinfocom]

Water Lily – Birth of the Lotus is a more tragic tale of love. While taking samples of plant life in a swamp, Gosuto discovers Lily, a nymph with weeping willow branches for hair and a body that sprouts out of a water lily. As Gosuto tries to get a closer look at Lily, he slips into the swamp, hitting his head on a rock in the process. Lily, though tethered to her roots, pushes her limits to save him. After she brings him to shore, the two begin to get along — until Lily begins to fade.

Water Lily – Birth of the Lotus is a student film created by the Water Lily Team at Supinfocom University in France. It uses both 2D and 3D to render its stunning narrative. The film premiered in 2015 at festivals both in France and abroad.

4. Oktapodi

Whether you're a fan of seafood or not, Oktapodi is sure to brighten your day. The fast-paced short features a pair of love-struck octopuses trying to avoid ending up under a chef's knife. When one of the octopuses is taken for delivery to a restaurant, the other embarks on a comical adventure resulting in both trying to escape the relentless delivery man. Can true love overcome any obstacle? Or, will the two lovers end up as someone’s dinner?

Oktapodi was developed as a 2007 French graduate student project from Gobelins L'École de L'Image. The film won several awards and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short in 2009.

5. Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou

'Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou' [Credit: Ringling College of Art Design]
'Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou' [Credit: Ringling College of Art Design]

Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou is a boy-meets-girl story with an with opposites attract twist. When the perpetually unfortunate Jenkins and the incessantly lucky Lou collide, the two embark on a day of misfortune — and fortune. As they hurtle down the hills of San Francisco in an ice cream cart, they face a series of obstacles and discover unique way in which love can change our lives.

Released in 2014, Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou was created by Ringling College of Art and Design students Michael Bidinger and Michelle Kwon. It has been honored at the Trinity Animation Festival, Blue Plum Animation Festival and the Hamburg Animation Festival.

What is your favorite animated short film?


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