Directed by Jeff Chiba Stearns
Official Selection, 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival
With his many shorts and his previous feature One Big Hapa Family (SDAFF ’10), director and animator Jeff Chiba Stearns has emerged as one of the most prolific spokespersons of the mixed-race experience on film. With his latest work, MIXED MATCH, Stearns hones in on a largely unexplored topic dear to many hapa families.
In the documentary’s opening sequences, we meet Athena Asklipiadis, the founder of Mixed Marrow, a non-profit organization dedicated to signing up people of mixed-race heritage to get on the bone marrow registry. We soon discover that, for a number of reasons, it’s tremendously difficult for those of multi-racial backgrounds to find a match. Out to reveal the personal stakes of these challenges, Stearns embarks on a journey with Asklipiadis leading the way to find and tell the emotional stories of patients, families, donors, and medical professionals all involved in the search for matches.
MIXED MATCH shines a bright light on the complex issues of race’s role in medicine, and with optimism and to the beaming faces of the cause’s warriors, it proposes possible solutions for one of the fastest-growing populations anywhere. –Eric Lallana
Writer: Jeff Chiba Stearns