Short animated film ‘Pritty’ is a much-needed queer coming-of-age tale

Upcoming animated short film Pritty gives a new voice to the American coming-of-age story, according to Pride!

Directed by poet and filmmaker Terrance Daye and based on the novel of the same name by author Keith F. Miller, Jr., Pritty: The Animation hopes to give another perspective other than the average White cishet dominated coming-of-age genre. The film tells the story of a teenage boy named Jay who decides to step out of his comfort zone, and learn to swim. He does so with the help of Justin, his handsome new swimming friend. 

The craters of Pritty recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, with a goal of $50,000. It has since raised over $56,000, with the campaign set to end on April 1. 

The description on the Kickstarter page reads: “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.” 

The synopsis goes on to read: “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.”

“I remember being floored by the audacity of Keith’s words,” says director Terrance Daye in a statement with Pride 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.”

He goes on to say: “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?”

Bringing stories like Pritty to the masses will allow queer people of color the chance to finally see themselves represented in a genre so saturated with white heterosxual stories. Animated stories featuring people of color are also few and far in between. 

When asked why he chose animation as the medium, Daye says: “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.”

If you would like to support Pritty: The Animation, you can still donate to the Kickstarter campaign until the deadline on Thursday, April 1, 2021.

Follow Pritty on Instagram @prittynotpretty


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