The Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) wraps up its 18th annual festival with a feature called Vanimasian Retrospective: 18 years of Asian and Asian-Canadian animation created in Vancouver, BC.  It’s really a celebration of the highlights of the films made by local filmmakers over the years.

One of the retrospectives is Jeff Chiba Stearns’ “What Are You Anyways?” which explores Jeff’s cultural backgrounds growing up a mix of Japanese and Caucasian in the small Canadian city of Kelowna, BC. 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 classically animated film that was entirely hand drawn. Rough animated drawings were done in pencil on 18lb animation paper and then inked onto 23lb animation paper. The thick Japanese brushed ink drawings are crosshatched to create a 3d appearance.


How did Stearns do it?  Using a special black ink pen to cross hatch with, water was applied to the drawings with a brush to create an ink washed effect from the bleeding ink to give tonality to the final rendered drawings. Some colouring was done with water colour paints. The 7000 final rendered drawings were scanned and brought into Adobe Photoshop where each drawing was touched up and alpha channeled for compositing. The alpha channeled images were compiled and composited in Final Cut Pro and camera moves were done in Adobe After Effects. Sound effects and vocals were recorded in studio and mixed in Final Cut Pro. The music used in the film is a fusion of traditional Japanese instruments like the Shakuhachi, Samisen, and Koto mixed with a western sound.  Some other films that will be nostalgically showcased include:

  1. Ann Marie Fleming – Great Expectations (Not what you’re thinking…) (1997) – 1:23 min
  2. Justin Henton – ESC (2005) – 4 min
  3. Jeff Chiba Stearns – What Are You Anyways? (2005) – 10:40 min
  4. Andrea Shimizu – A Hamster Tale (2006) – 5 min
  5. Hao Chen – Never Now (2006) – 4:28 min
  6. Ann Marie Fleming – Gluttony (2007) – 2:10 min
  7. Lydia Fu – Permute (2008) – 4:24 min
  8. Kunal Sen – Key Tumi? (2008) – 6:45 min
  9. Jace Kim – Zero (2009) – 4:07 min
  10. Su-An Ng – Nature on its Course (2009) – 2:40 min
  11. Toni Zhang – Lost Places (2010) – 4 min
  12. David Ngugen – Insert Credit (2011) – 7 min
  13. Sitji Chou – Peter and the Space Between (2011) – 4:07 min
  14. Elisa Chee – Crow’s Nest (2013) – 2:18 min
  15. Arthur (Yu-Ting) Chen – Lost and Found (2013) – 3:30 min
  16. Konstantin Steshenko – Wind and Tree (2013) – 6:25 min
  17. Jeff Chiba Stearns – Cats (2014) – 1:05 min

Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas
November 9, 2014 4:00 pm