Artist - Jeff Tran

Independent Animator, Jeff Tran, has produced several award winning animated films since 2007. His 2012 film "Traces of Joy", which chronicles the loss felt by two Inner City children, won the Audience Prize for Best Animated Film at the 2013 Toronto Animated Image Society Showcase. His 2007 film Dundas n’ Bathurst, a surrealistic, animated portrait of a Toronto intersection, won both 1st Place and Viewers Choice Prizes at the 2007 Toronto Urban Film Festival. Born in Midland Ontario, Jeff initially studied programming at the behest of his Vietnamese parents, but gradually his passion for art and filmmaking won out. Jeff graduated from Computer Animation at Sheridan College and also obtained a BFA from University of Waterloo. He has worked in the Animation Industry since 2007. Currently, Jeff is working at the Toronto animation studio, ToonBox Entertainment. His work explores multiculturalism and satire through various mediums.

What part of Canada are you from Jeff?
Born in Midland Ontario, but grew up on the hard streets of Mississauga.

What inspired you to create animation?
Superhero Comics were a big inspiration, as was Dragon Ball Z. 

But, a key moment would be around 2003 while I was perusing a bargain bin at Urban Outfitters and found this gem: "Director's Label DVD featuring Michel Gondry". His crafty creativity and insights on dreams blew me away. Even the DVD menu itself was artfully crafted.

How would you describe your artistic style?
Hmm..... like the plate from a buffet table at an Asian Canadian Fusion Bistro spinning on the edge of artistic gentrification. :P  

Can you share a piece of art work or script segment that no one has seen before?

"A Self Portrait"

"My 'fear of age' Phase"

BONUS: *Jeff rummaging through photo albums* - "Here's a cake topper!"

What role do you play in the creation of animation?
I've worked in various aspects in (directing, storyboarding, rigging, layout, animating)

Storyboards for the 2012 Summer Olympics
What is one project that you are proud to have been involved in?
Making "Traces of Joy" was the most involving project up to now, in particular the 'Producer' side of the project (the work that supports all the creative art stuff) was something I'm happy to have experienced. Things like raising money, finding studio space, and festival strategy was a full 4 year commitment.

Traces of Joy Trailer from Jeff Tran on Vimeo.

What project are you working on now?
Funny you should ask! I recently pitched a short film "Life Hacks for Long Distance Dads" with fellow filmmaker Keith Lock at the Innoversity Summit Pitch Competition.  We thought we could combine his experience with live action with my background in computer animation into a fun story.

Keith Lock and Jeff Tran pitching "Life hacks" at Innoversity Summit 2014

This is my second time pitching before an audience and it never gets easier!  It was an honour to be a finalist and I was happy with how our pitch went.  Aside from that, Keith and I are also writing a feature film script together.

Who is one of your favourite Canadian animators?
Craig Marshall, his work is confident, comedic and eerie. Every time I look at his crazy sketchbooks it's pure creepy comedy gold.  He needs to have a show of just his sketchbooks on podiums.
See his links:

Craig Marshall's Blog

What is one of your favourite animation books? 
"Starting Point: 1979-1996" by Hayao Miyazaki. There are Insightful interviews on his thoughts about his process, why he does animation, and early stories of his career and the journey up to 1996.  

Ooo... i just realized there's a follow up.. niceee... i'll check it out myself, lol.

Turning Point, 1997-2008 by Miyazaki Hayao (2014)

Who is an up-and-coming or relatively unknown Canadian animator that everyone should check out?
The passionate Patrick Jenkins. He does wonderful animated films on glass.
Big fan of his film noir detective film : 'the Labyrinth'.

Are you involved with any animation organizations in Canada?
I'm a member of the Toronto Animated Image Society (TAIS). I was a board member until 2013. The people involved with TAIS provide a supportive community for all types of animators, especially independent animators. TAIS does this by providing workshops on a wide variety of animation techniques (like stop motion animation workshops), hosting animation events (such as special screenings), as well as organizing group shows that pay the participating animators an artist's fee for each screening of the show. 


Have your films won any animation awards/accolades?

"Traces of Joy" won the audience award at the TAIS Showcase, Animasian Runner Up at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival, Best Canadian Short at the Toronto Korean Film Festival.

'Dundas n Bathurst" was 1st place and Audience Award at the inaugural Toronto Urban Film Festival.

What are some of your animation milestones?
Having my first film screened for the first time at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival was a great opportunity. They really make the filmmakers feel welcome.

Going to the NFB in Montreal for post production was a great experience.  It was a real treat to be at the studio where a lot of historic Canadian animation originated.

I'd say just finishing one of your own films is a great achievement. Then on to the next one.

"Dundas n' Bathurst"

"Traces of Joy"

Have you written any books or blog posts about Animation or Canadian Animation? 

Do you have HTML Links to other posts on the internet where you were interviewed about your work in animation?

Is there a question I should have asked that I didn’t? Feel free to add it in. 
Hmm.. some sort of deserted island question...

To see more work from Jeff Tran, check out the websites below.
Main Website: