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About the project

Title:  I (heart) Jack LaLanne: A Cartoon Memoir

Logline: In this animated short documentary the filmmaker, a lesbian, feminist baby boomer, investigates life’s touchstones via her 50+ year fascination with exercise guru Jack LaLanne.

Writer/Director/Animator/Editor: LeAnn Erickson

Runtime: 14:20, c. 2022

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved Jack LaLanne. I was a tomboy, growing up in the early 1960s, getting mixed messages from parents, grandparents, television, and teachers.  But fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne ‘got’ me.  I knew that he took me seriously and I returned the favor.  One of my earliest memories is rushing home from kindergarten to exercise along with Jack’s TV show.

I (heart) Jack LaLanne: A Cartoon Memoir is an animated documentary film structured around the life and legend of Jack LaLanne as it explores my personal experiences growing up female and gay in 1960s-70s America.  I was a serious athlete during my early and young adult years, thus the film also delves into issues of self-identity, societal expectations, and the effects of aging on the human body. 

I (heart) Jack LaLanne: A Cartoon Memoir uses classic and computer-based animation techniques to create visuals that accompany the voiceover storytelling.  Original drawing combines with rotoscoping, composited archival video clips float inside retro televisions, while stop-motion vitamins march toward their mark. The film moves around in time and space, with Jack Lalanne’s career trajectory serving as a touchstone to my personal journey.

Using a playful visual aesthetic and humorous tone, the film tackles serious issues, including the impact of role models on children, coming out as gay in a less tolerant era, and dealing with a late-in-life disability.

Wilma Rudolph excerpt