Jeff Chiba Stearns: Kelowna Filmmaker Wins Best Animation Award at International Film Festival

Jeff Chiba Stearns: Kelowna Filmmaker Wins Best Animation Award at International Film Festival

Growing up between two cultures can be a challenge.  Whether I
was in elementary school, high school or college, I often got asked:
“What's your nationality?” or “Where did you come from?” or “What's
your ethnic background?”

“I'm a CBC,” I would sometimes say, “that's Canadian Born
Chinese.”  Or sometimes I would reply simply, “Canadian,” or
“What's it to you?”  But moreoften I inform people, “I'm fifth
generation Chinese-Canadian.”  I say this because I am proud of my
family and ethnic heritage that has a presence in three Canadian
centuries from 1888 to 2005.

Jeff Chiba Stearns grew up in Kelowna
with Japanese and European/British heritage.  He created a
wonderful animation film titled “What Are You Really?” that captures
the struggles of dealing with racial identities, looks and cultural
heritage.  He does this in a very fun way.  I recommend
watching the film, and I hope to have Jeff and his film as a featured
guest at the next Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner – January 22, 2006.

Below are excerpts from Jeff's press release.


October 12, 2005

Filmmaker wins the Best Animation Award at the 2005 Los Angeles ARPA
International Film Festival for his animated film, “What Are You
Anways?” about life growing up in Kelowna being half-Japanese.

Jeff Chiba Stearns was in Hollywood
last week attending the 2005 8th Annual Los Angeles ARPA International
Film Festival where his short animated film, “What Are You Anyways?”
screened.  The festival took place at the prestigious Arclight Theatre
on Sunset Blvd from October 3rd to the 6th with an Awards Gala on
October 7th.  The Awards Gala was held at the legendary Hollywood Hotel
Roosevelt on
Hollywood Blvd. 
Jeff was nominated as part of a competition with five other animated
films and the jury awarded Jeff the Best Animation Award at the Awards
Gala Event. 

“I'm thrilled and
honored to have received the Best Animation Award at this year's Los
Angeles ARPA International Film Festival.  It is a great opportunity to
receive such international recognition of my work.  I can only hope
that this will only be the start of the success my film will encounter
on a world stage,” Jeff said after receiving the award.  He also
mentioned, “It was also pretty cool getting to sit with Danica
Mckellar, 'Winnie Cooper' from the hit TV show the Wonder Years, who
also had a film up for nomination during the awards ceremony.  I grew
up with that show and she was really happy to see me win the award.”

“What Are You Anyways?” has been having incredible success on the film
festival circuit having screened at over 15 international film
festivals so far after less than a year of release.  Some notable
international film festivals include the
Maui, San Diego Asian, Chicago Children's International, Toronto Reel Asian, Vancouver Asian, Newport Beach, Delray Beach,
and Dallas Asian Film Festivals.  After winning the award at the ARPA
Film Festival, Jeff was approached with an offer from Norooz
Productions, an LA based animation studio, to possibly develop and have
Jeff direct a half hour big budget animation special based on Jeff's
film, “What Are You Anyways?” 

“What Are You
has broadcast nationally on the CBC twice so far and Jeff has
also secured distribution of his film with the National Film Board of
Canada to distribute it across
Canada and beyond.  Kelowna
residents and anyone else who is interested on how they can obtain DVD
copies of “What Are You Anyways?”  can order them by emailing Jeff at  Info and a trailer for the film are available
at   Jeff is currently the classical animation instructor at the Centre for Arts and Technology in


FILM COMMISION HQ wrote this about the ARPA International Film Festival:

“The Arpa
International Film Festival is one of the most dynamic and, in a world
increasingly dependent upon cultural understanding, perhaps the most
important niche festivals of our time.

The Arpa International
Film Festival is dedicated to cultivating cultural understanding and
global empathy, creating a dynamic forum for international cinema with
a special focus on the work of filmmakers who explore the issues of
Diaspora, exile, and cross- and multi-culturalism. And it celebrates
the ideals of independent thought, artistic vision, cultural diversity
and social understanding.”     

To watch “What Are You Anyways?” online please go to:

Jeff can be contacted at: Website.

ZeD profile:

“What Are You Anyways?” Synopsis

Follow the
adventures of the Super Nip as filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns explores
his cultural backgrounds growing up a mix of Japanese and Caucasian in
a small white-bred Canadian city. This short classically animated film
looks at particular periods in Jeff’s life where he battled with
finding an identity being a half minority – from his childhood origins
to the epic showdown against the monster truck drivin’ redneck crew.
“What Are You Anyways?” is a humorous yet serious story of struggle and
love and finding one’s identity through the trials and tribulations of
growing up.

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