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. 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. 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 2008 ELAN for Best Animated Short Subject and 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. Although, one of his greatest accomplishments was 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 in 2011.
Jeff’s latest and 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 documentary is funded by Rogers, The Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, CIFVF and Knowledge. In 2010 he was awarded the Emily Award from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design for outstanding achievements of an 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.