Unlikely romance isn’t necessarily a new concept in storytelling, but what if we tell you that an upcoming animated short takes this trope to a whole new level? “The Lovers” is a dark fantasy WLW (women loving women) story that explores the thrilling relationship between Sara (a seafood chef forced to give up her OG dreams to run their family restaurant back home) and Sirena (a predatory siren with psychedelic venom) in a retro-futuristic Binondo, Manila.
Despite being poles apart in background, culture, and even species, Sara and Sirena find themselves drawn to each other, throwing themselves into a world of fear, suppression, and danger.
This experimental project is produced by Studio Heartbreak—an indie animation studio and production company founded by a bunch of college students who were “rejected by every art internship they applied for.”
Hi! The Lovers is a WLW animated thriller about a siren and a seafood chef, set in a dark fantasy Philippines.
You can watch our full trailer for free on our Kickstarter page! Link in bio. pic.twitter.com/AAKBj3ScCT
— Studio Heartbreak @ KICKSTARTER LIVE (@studioheartbrk) May 9, 2023
The team—together with some guest artists and animators—has recently released the trailer (which they worked on for about a year) alongside a Kickstarter campaign to fund its completion, including an alternate ending and (minimum) compensation for the creatives behind it.
Studio Heartbreak has yet to announce the official release date, but they already confirmed that “The Lovers” is “well underway.” While the entire short will be dubbed in Filipino, they also plan on releasing an English version to cater to a wider audience, specifically the animation and WLW communities from all over the world.
This upcoming sapphic film is an exciting addition to the growing roster of Filipino-themed animation, which has been gaining buzz and recognition in recent years. Big platforms have picked up shows like “Trese” (a dark urban fantasy set in Manila) and “Hayop Ka!” (a satirical romantic comedy featuring anthropomorphic animals). “Barangay 143” has also gained a following for its sports theme, diverse cast, and heartfelt storytelling.
Despite these feats, though, the animation industry (especially in the Philippines) remains relatively obscure and under-supported, with many animators and artists struggling to make a living. So, keep an eye out for “The Lovers” and offer support in any way possible.
Whether it’s by donating to the Kickstarter campaign, sharing the trailer on social media, or simply spreading the word, let’s all rally behind this project and the larger animation landscape. After all, this doesn’t just put queer women at the forefront but also showcases a daring concept that has rarely been seen in the mainstream.
Still from “The Lovers” trailer