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'Canadian Anijam' Heads to Hot Docs

Fifteen of Canada’s most celebrated independent animators come together to create a collaborative animated film, “Yellow Sticky Notes | Canadian Anijam,” which will have its Canadian premiere at the 20th Annual Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.


Vancouver, BC -- Yellow Sticky Notes | Canadian Anijam, a classically animated short film by Vancouver based animation filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns, will have its Canadian Premiere at the prestigious 20th Annual Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival at the end of April. The film is a follow up to his 2007 hit animation, Yellow Sticky Notes.

For the first time in Canadian history, 15 of Canada’s most award-winning and celebrated independent animators have come together to create a collaborative animated film. Yellow Sticky Notes | Canadian Anijam is an innovative and global approach to animation filmmaking and unites animators from coast to coast, from Vancouver to Halifax and all parts in between, to self-reflect on one day of their lives using only 4x6 inch yellow sticky notes, a black pen and animation meditation. Featuring animation from the original Anijam creator Marv Newland along with Oscar winners Alison Snowden and David Fine and Academy Award nominees Cordell Barker, Janet Perlman, Chris Hinton, and Paul Driessen. Other award-winning animators, Jeff Chiba Stearns, Jody Kramer, Howie Shia, Jonathan Ng, Lillian Chan, Malcolm Sutherland, Joel Mackenzie, Louise Johnson round out the "anijammers."

An "Anijam" is a collaborative animation with various animators who create individual short animated segments that link together to make one larger film. Thus, to create the film, the animators were asked to self-reflect through animation on personal and global events that impacted one day of their lives. Each of the animators created their sequences without knowing what the other participants were creating. Starting with a ‘to do’ list written on the day of a life-altering event, the animators transitioned from text to imagery by utilizing ‘animation meditation’ to create a visually animated poem representing how their lives were affected by that pivotal day. In the end, the thousands of sticky note drawings link together to create a dynamic and inspirational animated film that connects the human spirit while celebrating individual artistic expression with the goal of inspiring future generations of animators. All future revenue created by the film will be used to create a foundation called the Yellow Sticky Notes Project to teach classical animation workshops to kids and youth across Canada.

Yellow Sticky Notes | Canadian Anijam, created with a BravoFact grant from Bravo, will be eligible for the Award for Best Short Documentary, as well as the Audience Award. This year, Hot Docs is thrilled to announced that it has been chosen as an Academy Award qualifying festival for short documentaries. Recipients of Hot Docs’ Best Short Documentary award will qualify for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Annual Academy Awards.

Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, and will present its 20th annual edition from April 25 to May 5, 2013. The festival features an outstanding selection of 205 documentaries from Canada and around the world, including films from 43 countries, that will be presented to Toronto audiences and international delegates. The festival features Canadian and international competitive programs, an international documentary market, The Doc Shop, and the Hot Docs Forum.

“Hot Docs celebrates its 20th anniversary with an appreciative nod to Toronto’s amazing audiences,” says executive director Chris McDonald. “We are coming off a year of significant expansion, and our doc-lovers have responded to all of our cinematic offerings in record number. Hot Docs is now the largest year-round documentary exhibitor, with the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema welcoming over 150,000 people through its doors in the first year alone. We are thrilled with the response and eager to share hundreds of outstanding new films with them during our 20th anniversary Festival.”

Last year, the festival attracted over 2000 delegates, including documentary filmmakers, buyers, programmers, distributors and commissioning editors from around the world.

“I am thrilled and honored to have the Canadian premiere of Yellow Sticky Notes | Canadian Anijam at this year’s Hot Docs. For an animated film to get into an exclusive documentary festival is extremely rare, but I can see how the film could be considered an ‘anidoc’ because the film documents a day in the lives of each of the animators involved. Even though this is an entirely animated film, I feel it is also very much a new form of experimental documentary with its approach of documenting the past, present and future.” says Jeff Chiba Stearns, director of Yellow Sticky Notes | Canadian Anijam.

Yellow Sticky Notes Canadian Anijam had its world premiere in January 2013 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and has been officially accepted to many other prestigious North American and International Film Festivals including Cinequest Film Festival, International Film Festival of Cartegena de Indias, Animac, Cleveland International Film Festival, WorldFest – Houston International Independent Film Festival, Athens International Film + Video Festival, and the Melbourne International Animation Festival.

The film is screening at Hot Docs as part of the Canadian Spectrum series with the World Premiere of the feature documentary 15 Reasons to Live.

Screening times: Saturday, April 27, 6:30pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1 Monday, April 29, 1:30pm at Isabel Bader TheatreSunday, May 5, 1:30pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Source: Meditating Bunny

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.