Title: I (heart) Jack LaLanne: A Cartoon Memoir
Logline: In this animated short documentary, the filmmaker, a lesbian, feminist baby boomer, shares her coming out story with the help of fitness 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.