Pritty Is the Animated Queer Coming-of-Age Film We Need in Our Lives
'Pritty' Is the Animated Queer Coming-of-Age Film We Need in Our Lives
Black queer boys are finally getting their shine in this adorable, upcoming animated short!
Coming-of-age stories are our absolute favorite, but even in this day and age, the genre is still overwhelmingly dominated by the voices of straight, white folks. But an upcoming animated short film, Pritty, is hoping to offer a much-needed change of perspective when it comes to coming-of-age — and you can help make it a reality![instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CL5GFYHhhMa/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading expand=1 site_id=25299530 embed_desktop_width=540 embed_desktop_height=889 embed_mobile_width=375 embed_mobile_height=760]
Directed by poet and filmmaker Terrance Daye and based on the novel of the same name by author and collaborator Keith F. Miller, Jr., Pritty: The Animation tells the story of a teenager named Jay who is trying new things, stepping out of his familiar, safe, comfort zone, and learning to swim with the help of a handsome new friend named Justin.
"On a scorching summer day at a community pool, a Black teen learns to step out of his comfort zone, and with the help of a charming neighborhood boy, overcomes his fear of the deep end," reads the description onPritty's Kickstarter page where is it seeking crowdfunding so that it can be brought to the masses of LGBTQ+ viewers and queer people of color who want to see themselves represented in media. (At the time of writing, the short has raised over $39,000 of its ultimate $50,000 goal.)
The synopsis reads:
"Savannah, Georgia (early 2000’s) backdrops this naturalistic coming-of-age story. The Deep South breeds its Black boys hard, then there’s Jay. He sticks out for all the wrong reasons. He’s dark-skinned, quiet and skinny, and likes to wear flowers in his hair. The opposite of his masculine and charismatic older brother, Jacob. Their differences peak at the community pool where swaggering manhood is on full display. Jay is reserved as he struggles to embody his brother’s carefree confidence. Until he gets help from Justin, a charming, light-skinned boy from the neighborhood. Their new friendship is tested, however, when an unspoken truth dares to surface."[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CL7-4GChFZ_/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading expand=1 site_id=25299530 embed_desktop_width=540 embed_desktop_height=1006 embed_mobile_width=375 embed_mobile_height=817]
"I remember being floored by the audacity of Keith’s words," director Terrance Daye said in a statement about why he wanted to bring Keith F. Miller, Jr.'s project, an unapologetic and joyful portrait of queer Black boys falling in love, to life. "His complex depiction of Black men coming of age was the very hope I now needed."
"There are too few stories that simply feature Black boys at play, discovering their full humanity and vulnerability — and learning to heal because of it. I longed for my own work to engage more intentionally in this practice. I changed my perspective on filmmaking and committed to bringing a new question to the big screen: 'What would it mean to visualize the softer, more intimate sides of Black men without fear of consequence?'
With renewed vision and a devoted team by my side, I set about bringing Pritty to life. Visualizing this world and now getting to animate it has given me permission to hope again. It has been one of the highlights of my year and has taught me that filmmaking is just another form of dreaming. The world may be chaotic now. But it won’t always be. Black lives may exist on the cusp of constant peril now. But somewhere there must be joy and laughter. The media can’t imagine this for us. But we can imagine it for ourselves. Can’t we?"
Originally envisioned as a live-action short, the team pivoted to animation after the pandemic brought their plans to shoot the film to halt, and they have since cited the works of legendary, beloved anime director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki as a major inspiration to bring Pritty to fruition.
"Animation is a medium that is full of imagination and dreaming, and with Pritty, we are actively allowing ourselves to imagine what it looks like for Black and brown boys to be free. Choosing to make animation our new medium felt like a natural fit to capture these dreams, hopes, and imaginations for our future world. We turned to Japanese animation director, Hayao Miyazaki, to inspire the lush landscapes and naturalism that we wanted to exude through Pritty. His work became one of our largest sources of inspiration. But for all its beauty, we never saw ourselves represented in his worlds. 'Bring Hayao Miyazaki To The Hood' became our new motto. Our hoods, our communities, our spaces with their subtleties and nuances are worthy of occupying the center. This animation is a reminder of that."
If you want to help make Pritty: The Animation a reality, you can contribute and donate to the official Kickstart here from now until the deadline on Thursday, April 1, 2021! And you can also watch an interview with the creators and get a sneak peek of Pritty in the video below to learn more!