New musical animation film Pacemaker delivers message of lo…

Hitting YouTube just in time for Transgender Awareness Week, Pacemaker is an all-new, trans-positive short film starring Tony Award winner Alex Newell. 

The short film follows the story of a grandfather who is getting a pacemaker installed. Prior to his surgery, however, the grandfather is visited by his grandson, Cody, who has recently transitioned. While it is clear at the start of the film that Cody’s grandfather is still struggling with using his affirmed name and pronouns, by the end, Cody’s grandfather is cheering him on at his football match, hoisting a sign that reads “Go Cody!”

In addition to starring Alex Newell, the first ever non-binary actor to win a Tony Award for Shucked, the short film similarly boasts the voice-acting skills of multi-Grammy Award-winning singer Philip Lawrence. 

Together, Newell and Lawrence sing Pacemaker‘s original song ‘Rhythm of My Heart,’ which was recently nominated for a Music in Media Award. 

The song, written by composer Christopher Lennertz, was designed specifically for the screenplay, which Lennertz also penned. According to Lennertz, the song and the short film are both based on his own experiences coming to accept his own trans son, who was frequently consulted throughout production. 

In a statement following the short film’s release, Lennertz said: “[Pacemaker] is a love letter to my own family’s journey towards understanding and accepting the identities and purposes of all individuals. 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.”

Lennertz similarly directed the project alongside Brian Vincent Rhodes, the director of Spies in DisguiseThe ten-minute short film is the product of a partnership between writers, animators, and producers who have worked for companies like Fox, Nickelodeon, and Pixar. 

Since it was released on November 14, Pacemaker has garnered accolades from the Stamped Film Festival, LGBTQ+ Toronto Film Festival, Indie Short Fest, and IndieX Film Fest. 

Watch trans-positive short film Pacemaker, starring Alex Newell and Philip Lawrence, below or at this link.


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