Whispers of Life

Florian Halbedl Canada 2013 11min

When disruptive and threatening bullies interrupt Tom's after-school safe haven, Charles, a stranger, actively uses Tom's imagination to challenge the gay teenager's thoughts of suicide.

Director Florian Halbedl will be in attendance.

Producer Joshua M. Ferguson will be in attendance.


Florian Halbedl was born in Luzern, Switzerland in 1985. At an early age, Halbedl’s affinity and attraction to making films was clear while re-enacting scenes from various films with his brother and friends. Growing up in a small town in the Swiss mountains, the local cinema was a novelty for German-dubbed Hollywood movies. In 2000, Halbedl immigrated to Canada with his family. During high school in Toronto he became a dedicated member at the school’s Film Society, which sparked his interest in ‘foreign’ films. While studying Medical Sciences at the University of Western Ontario, he shot his first short film for a Vertebrate Biology class. After switching one of his majors to Film Studies, Halbedl graduated with a double major in Film Studies and Medical Sciences and immediately began his professional career in Vancouver. Halbedl quickly realized that working with assistant directors would expose him to the knowledge and energy of filmmaking and has been working, as part of the assistant director teams, on shows such as Supernatural, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Once Upon a Time, and most recently Gareth Edward’s Godzilla. Halbedl wrote and directed the timely Whispers of Life, a dramatic magic realism short film about gay youth, bullying and suicide, which is currently screening at festivals internationally.

Workshop: How to Make an Animated GIF

Rickie Lea Owens Canada 90min

GIFs are animated images that work in all web browsers. In this workshop, students will learn how to create GIFs and experiment with moving image techniques such as stop motion animation and pixilation. Their GIFs will then be added to a tumblr page on the R2R website. This 90-minute workshop will be taught by Montréal artist, Rickie Lea Owens, known for her quick and squeaky animated short films, which have screened around the world. Check out the R2R GIF-tastic tubmlr page.

School Groups, please see the Talent Lab program for school pricing. Space is limited.

A Short History of the GIF from The Academy on Vimeo.

Yellow Sticky Notes: Canadian Anijam

Jeff Chiba Stearns and friends Canada 2012 8min

A roster of artists displays the full spectrum of Canadian animation talent as each animates a single diary entry using nothing other than a black marker and some yellow sticky notes. 

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. For the film, 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 independent of 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 visual 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.

Jeff Chiba Stearns is an award-winning animation and documentary filmmaker, illustrator and writer. Born in Kelowna, BC, of Japanese and European heritage, he graduated from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design with a degree in Film Animation (2001). Soon after, he founded Meditating Bunny Studio Inc. specializing in the creation of animated and documentary films and innovative animated commercials. His studio has won 32 awards including a Webby Award in 2011 and an Emmy® nomination in 2012. His short animated film Yellow Sticky Notes (2007), winner of the Prix du Public at the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival was animated with just a black pen on over 2300 sticky notes and is the official selection of over 80 international film festivals, winning 10 awards. Yellow Sticky Notes was also one of the first films acquired by YouTube’s Screening Room and has since achieved over 1.8 million views.