Tue JAN 24 | 7:30 pm | screening, Q + A, reception | free admission

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And you thought your family was mixed up! After a realization at a family reunion, filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns embarks on a journey of self-discovery to find out why everyone after his grandparents’ generation in his Japanese-Canadian family married interracially. The resulting award-winning feature documentary, One Big Hapa Family will be shown at the Galt Museum & Archives on Tuesday, January 24 at 7:30 pm in partnership with the Nikkei Cultural Society of Lethbridge & Area, with Chiba Stearns in attendance

 “One Big Hapa Family challenges our perceptions of purity and makes us question if mixing is the end of multiculturalism as we know it”, says Stearns of his 58-minute documentary which premiered at festivals internationally in 2010.

 One Big Hapa Family explores why almost 100% of all Japanese-Canadians, the highest out of any other ethnicity in Canada, are marrying interracially and how their mixed children perceive their unique multiracial identities. Stories from four generations of a Japanese-Canadian family come to life through the use of innovative animation techniques created by some of Canada’s brightest independent animators, including Jeff Chiba Stearns, Louise Johnson, Ben Meinhardt, Todd Ramsay, Jonathan Ng, and Kunal Sen.

 Kunal Sen’s excerpt from One Big Hapa Family, as well as a 3-minute animation specific to southern Alberta commissioned from Sen, will be included in the Virtual Museum of Canada exhibit Nikkei Tapestry, currently being developed by the Galt Museum & Archives in partnership with the Canadian Heritage Information Network, Nikkei Cultural Society of Lethbridge & Area, the University of Lethbridge Departments of Music and New Media, and Ecole Agnes Davidson School. The site will be completed in the late fall of 2012.

 Jeff Chiba Stearns will introduce One Big Hapa Family at the Galt Museum and will answer questions following the screening. Admission is free. Chiba Stearns will also speak at the University of Lethbridge Art Now lecture series on Wednesday, January 25 from noon- 12:50 pm in the Recital Hall.

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 Jeff Chiba Stearns is a multi award-winning independent documentary and animation filmmaker from Kelowna and now Vancouver, B.C., of Japanese and European heritage. A graduate of the Film Animation program at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, he founded Meditating Bunny Studio Inc., specializing in animation and documentary films along with broadcast and viral commercials for such clients as 3M, Sharpie, and Generali. His films have screened at hundreds of film festivals around the world, garnered 32 awards including the Prix du Public at the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, and broadcast internationally. In 2010, he was awarded the Emily Award from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design for outstanding achievements of an alumnus.  Chiba Stearns was awarded the Cultural Pioneer Award by Harvard University in 2011 for his continued exploration of multiethnic identity in his work. He has also instructed college animation, written articles for national publications and lectured around the world on topics of multiracial identity, cultural awareness, filmmaking, short film distribution, and animation.

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Anine VonkemanComment