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Founder of Meditating Bunny Studio Inc.



Jeff Chiba Stearns is an animator and documentary filmmaker best known for his feature length documentaries, One Big Hapa Family (2010) and Mixed Match (2016) . He is also an accomplished author and illustrator. Jeff, who is of Japanese and European heritage, has been an international spokesperson on mixed-race identity since his 2005 short animated film “What Are You Anyways?”. Born in Kelowna, BC, Jeff studied Film Animation at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, graduating in 2001, and soon after founded Meditating Bunny Studio Inc. in Vancouver. Since then, Jeff’ short animations, such as Yellow Sticky Notes (2007), and feature length documentaries have been screened around the world in hundreds of film festivals, broadcast on various major networks and have won dozens of awards and accolades, including a Webby Award and an Emmy® nomination.


Jeff describes his animation style as Hapanimation, a blend of Japanese and North American styles. Jeff has published articles and lectured around the world about multiracial identity, cultural awareness, filmmaking, animation, and film distribution. He is also a co-founder of the annual Hapa-palooza Festival in Vancouver and President of Moving Images Distribution. 


Lately, Jeff has focused his creativity on writing and illustrating children's books including Mixed Critters (2018) and Nori and His Delicious Dreams (2020). In 2021, he co-authored and illustrated his first graphic novel entitled, On Being Yukiko, with famed Japanese Canadian artist, Lillian Michiko Blakey. The graphic novel is the first to address themes of Japanese Canadian history and identity and has also just been translated to Japanese and released as a special edition. 

Currently, Jeff is writing a graphic novel on the life of Japanese Canadian pioneer Tomekichi Homma and writing and illustrating a second graphic novel which is a fantasy based story that takes place in the New Denver Japanese Canadian internment camp during WWII. 

Jeff was also the creative director for the hit pre-school puppet/animated music series The Treebees. During its run, Jeff directed 60 episodes of the series. Since the show's launch in November 2021, The Treebees videos have amassed over 50 million views on YouTube and broadcast on the Knowledge Network



In 2010, Jeff Chiba Stearns received the Emily Award from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design for his outstanding achievements as an alumnus, and in 2011, Harvard University awarded him the Cultural Pioneer Award for his exploration of multiethnic identity.

Through the philanthropy work he has done with his documentary Mixed Match, Jeff was recognized with the Schilly Award by Canadian Blood Services on September 11, 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario at their Honouring Our Lifeblood awards ceremony. Subsequently, on November 10, 2017 at the annual Be the Match Council Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jeff along with the main subject of Mixed Match and founder of Mixed Marrow, Athena Mari Asklipiadis, were both awarded the Awareness Award for their activism and outreach created through the film.

At the closing ceremony of the 21st Vancouver Asian Film Festival on November 5, 2017, Jeff was awarded the 2017 Cultural Diversity Award for his vast catalogue of film work exploring multicultural themes and identity.


Jeff Chiba Stearns was the senior classical animation instructor at the Centre for Arts and Technology Kelowna from 2004 to 2008 and is available for animation workshops for youth and adults, filmmaking panels/juries, conference key-notes addresses, on camera interviews, school author talks and university guest lectures.  Having also completed a Bachelor of Education at the University of British Columbia in 2003, Jeff is a trained and experienced speaker and educator.  


Jeff has lectured around the world on all topics of filmmaking and specializes in animation production and hybrid film distribution strategies. He has also presented his films and spoken at a multitude of universities including Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Kyoto, Toronto and Yale about multiracial identity. He has also conducted dozens of author talks and illustration workshops at schools across Canada. To book Jeff as a speaker, please fill out the CONTACT form.

About Jeff: Inner_about
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