Just in time for Transgender Awareness Week, a new, transgender-positive animated short film called PACEMAKER is now available to stream on digital platforms Vimeo and YouTube.
PACEMAKER features a star-studded cast from the world of musical theater, with the first nonbinary actor to win a Tony Award (2023 for “Shucked”), Alex Newell, taking on the leading role. Newell is joined by multi-Grammy Award winner, Philip Lawrence. The film features an original song called “Rhythm of my Heart” written by Christopher Lennertz, which was inspired by his own personal experience with his transgender son.
“This film is a love letter to my own family’s journey towards understanding and accepting the identities and purposes of all individuals,” Lennertz said in a press release. “Inspired by my son Tobi and our shared love for classic animated musicals, we set out to create a film that captures the essence of beloved classics but delivers a fresh message of love and pride for families within the LGBTQIA+ community and the world. Love emerges victorious when we follow the rhythm of our hearts.”
The song was recently nominated in the “Best Song in a Short Film” category from the Hollywood Music In Media Awards. Lennertz co-directed the short with Brian Vincent Rhodes.
PACEMAKER follows an older man on his journey of acceptance for his transgender grandson, mirroring parts of Lennertz’s lived experience. The short film was executive produced by ND Stevenson, the creator and writer of Nimona. It also had some heavy-hitters from the animation world behind it, including folks who have worked for Fox, Nickelodeon, and Pixar in Darlene Caamaño Loquet and Magdiela Hermida Duhamel.