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Jeff Chiba Stearns

Jeff Chiba Stearns is a multi award-winning animation and documentary filmmaker. Born in Kelowna, BC, of Japanese and European heritage, he graduated from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design with a degree in Film Animation in 2001. Soon after he founded Meditating Bunny Studio Inc., a Vancouver based boutique animation studio specializing in the creation of animated, documentary, and experimental films aimed at both children and adults that combine different philosophical and social elements together to create humorous, entertaining, and inspiring stories. The studio also specializes in the creation of innovative stop motion and classically animated commercials and has created broadcast spots and viral videos for Sharpie, Anythink, Living Blueprint, Generali, Ministry of Health BC, 3M International, and Post-it Note. His animated shorts, Kip and Kyle (2000), The horror of Kindergarten (2001), What Are You Anyways? (2005), Yellow Sticky Notes (2007), and Ode to a Post-it Note (2010) have screened in hundreds of film festivals around the world, garnered 32 awards, and broadcast on the CBC, Discovery Latin America, Sundance Channel, Movie Central, Encore Ave., Shaw, and Movieola.

“What Are You Anyways?” winner of the 2006 ELAN for Best Animated Short Subject was the first animated film that explored multiethnic issues and lead Jeff to becoming an international spokesperson on mixed-race identity. He coined the term “Hapanimation” to describe his style blending Japanese animation with a North American animation style. Yellow Sticky Notes (2007), winner of the Prix du Public at the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival was animated with just a black pen on over 2300 sticky notes and is the official selection of over 80 international film festivals, winning 10 awards. Yellow Sticky Notes was also one of the first films acquired by YouTube’s Screening Room and has since achieved over 1.8 million views. One of his greatest accomplishments came in 2011 when his short animated film, Ode to a Post-it Note (2010), a film commissioned by 3M Canada, won a Webby Award for Best Branded Entertainment at the 15th Annual Webby Awards.

Jeff’s first feature documentary, One Big Hapa Family (2010), is about children of mixed-Japanese decent and the high Japanese Canadian interracial marriage rate. The award winning animation/live action hybrid documentary has screened across North America at various festivals and universities and broadcast on OMNI, Knowledge, and PBS. He is currently directing a new short sticky note animation entitled Yellow Sticky Notes: Canadian Anijam where he is bringing together 15 of Canada’s most influential indie animators to create a collective animated anijam. He is also in the process of directing another feature length documentary entitled Mixed Match about the complexities multiethnic people face when trying to find bone marrow matches.

In 2010, he was awarded the Emily Award from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design for outstanding alumni. As well, he was awarded the Cultural Pioneer Award by Harvard University in 2011 for his continued exploration of multiethnic identity in his work. On top of filmmaking, Jeff is also a past college animation instructor who has written articles for national publications and lectured around the world on topics of multiracial identity, cultural awareness, filmmaking, short film distribution, and animation.

FILMOGRAPHY

2000 Kip and Kyle (classical animation – 0:47 min.)
2001 The horror of Kindergarten (classical w/ computer animation – 5:07 min.)
2005 “What Are You Anyways?” (classical animation – 10:40 min.)
2007 Yellow Sticky Notes (classical animation – 6:00 min.)
2010 One Big Hapa Family (live action with animation – 85:00 min.)
2010 Ode to a Post-it Note (stop motion animation – 5:10 min.)

HIGHLIGHTED AWARDS, GRANTS, AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

1997 Teen Honour in the Arts Civic Award presented by the Kelowna and District Arts Council in recognition of outstanding community service in the area of the arts

2003 Brissenden Scholarship in Art Education awarded by UBC for the creation of the most outstanding art unit plan

2005 Best Production Max. 15 min. and People’s Choice Award awarded by the 8th Annual Okanagan Film Festival for the film, “What Are You Anyways?”

2005 Best Animation Award awarded by the 8th Annual Los Angeles ARPA International Film Festival for the film, “What Are You Anyways?”

2006 Edith Lando Peace Prize and Most Innovative Film – Ages 9+ awarded by the Vancouver Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth for the film, “What Are You Anyways?”

2006 NFB Kids Prize for Best Animated Film awarded by the Freeze Frame International Festival of Film for Kids of All Ages for the film, “What Are You Anyways?”

2006 Best Animated Short Subject awarded by the Canadian Awards for the Electronic & Animated Arts for the film, “What Are You Anyways?”

2006 BC Arts Council Media Arts Grant for the film One Big Hapa Family

2007 Animasian Award for Best Animated Film awarded by the 11th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes

2008 Canada Council for the Arts – Media Arts Production Grant for the film One Big Hapa Family

2008 Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund Grant for the film One Big Hapa Family

2008 Omni Television Diversity in Cultures Award awarded by the Leo Awards for the film, One Big Hapa Family

2008 Best Animated Short Subject awarded by the Canadian Awards for the Electronic & Animated Arts for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes

2008 Youth Jury Honourable Mention awarded by the12th Freeze Frame International Festival of Film for Kids of All Ages for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes

2008 Platinum Remi Award Winner for Best Animated (Classic Cel
Animation) awarded by the 41st WorldFest – Houston Remi Awards for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes

2008 Special Mention for Animated Short awarded by the Fantasia Film Festival for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes

2008 Golden Sheaf Award for Best Animation by the Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes

2008 Best Animated Short Film awarded by the Calgary International Film Festival for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes

2009 Prix du Public Labo (Audience Award) Lab Competition awarded by the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes

2009 Cineplex Entertainment Award for Best Short Animation awarded by the Victoria Film Festival for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes

2009 Best Animated Short awarded by the Beloit International Film Festival for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes

2009 Golden Pencil Award for Best 2d Animation awarded by the 2d or not 2d Animation Festival for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes

2010 Emily Award presented by the Emily Carr University of Art + Design acknowledging outstanding achievements by an alumni

2010 NFB Best Canadian Film or Video Award awarded by the 14th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival for the film, One Big Hapa Family

2010 Best Animation Award awarded by the 10h Anchorage International Film Festival for the film, Ode to a Post-it Note

2011 Best Short Documentary Award awarded by the 5th Trail Dance Film Festival for the film, One Big Hapa Family

2010 Special Jury Mention for the Viral Video Award presented by the 26th International Short Film Festival of Berlin for the film, Ode to a Post-it Note

2011 Best Animation Award presented by the Beloit International Film Festival for the film, Ode to a Post-it Note

2011 Cultural Pioneer Award presented by the Harvard HAPA Association

2011 Rising Star Award – Documentary Competition presented by the Canada Film Festival for the film, One Big Hapa Family

2011 Edith Lando Peace Prize presented by the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth for the film, One Big Hapa Family

2011 Royal Reel Award – Animation Film Competition presented by the Canada Film Festival for the film, Ode to a Post-it Note

2011 Winner for Best Branded Entertainment presented by the 15th Annual Webby Awards for the film, Ode to a Post-it Note

2011 Official Honoree for Branded Content presented by the 15th Annual Webby Awards for the film, Ode to a Post-it Note

2011 Special Jury Award, Documentary: Outstanding Cinematography presented by the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival for the film, One Big Hapa Family

2011 Special Jury Award, Documentary: Outstanding Editing presented by the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival for the film, One Big Hapa Family

2011 Best Film Featuring a Person with a Mixed Background presented by the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival for the film, One Big Hapa Family

2011 Best Historically Accurate Depiction of the Mixed Experience presented by the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival for the film, One Big Hapa Family

2011 Certificate of Proclamation: A Special Day of Honor Bestowed upon Jeff Chiba Stearns – In recognition of his commitment and outstanding efforts in building a multiracial community presented by Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu and the City of New Orleans (June 10, 2011)

2012 Nominated for a NATASNW Emmy® Award for Best Human Interest Feature/Segment for the film, Yellow Sticky Notes