Skip to main content
The Independent Critic

Athena Asklipiadis
Jeff Chiba Stearns
95 Mins.

 Award-Winning "Mixed Match" Set to Screen at 2017 Heartland Film Festival 

Emmy nominated filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns arrives at the 2017 Heartland Film Festival with his latest cinematic effort, the feature documentary Mixed Match, an involving and vital documentary that tells a story that, rather sadly, leaves you going "I'd never really thought about that!" when, in fact, you really should have thought about it. Mixed Match is told from the perspective of mixed race blood cancer patients who are forced to reflect on their multiracial identities and complex genetics as they struggle with a seemingly impossible search to find bone marrow donors, all while exploring what role race plays in medicine. It's really a no-brainer discussion, yet an all too infrequent one and Mixed Match serves as an informative and involving primer into this information that centers around of the fastest growing demographics in North America. For many people in America, being mixed race is no longer just about an identity it can be a matter of life and death.

Mixed Match has picked up a slew of awards since its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival including prizes at Asian Film Festival of Dallas (Audience Award, Documentary and Special Jury Mention), CAAMFest (Best Documentary), Spokane International Film Festival (Best Northwest Feature), Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (Audience Award), Vancouver Asian Film Festival (People's Choice Award, Best Overall Feature), VC FilmFest - Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (Audience Award, Documentary Feature) and a host of others on its way to over a dozen screenings so far as it heads toward its Indiana premiere at October's Heartland Film Festival. 

Mixed Match is set for two screenings at this year's Heartland Film Fest - Thursday, Oct 19 – 5:15pm at AMC Traders Point Theater 10 and  Saturday, Oct 21 – 4:45pm at AMC Castleton Square with director Jeff Chiba Stearns scheduled to be present for post-screening Q&A sessions. 

Mixed Match is, at its essence, a rather straightforward documentary devoid of gimmicks and any sort of trivializing of its material through unnecessary entertainment. The stories that unfold in the film are compelling precisely because Stearns allows the stories to unfold and trusts that they will have an emotional impact. 

For the most part, they definitely do.

While the subject matter could easily be an "over the head" one, Mixed Match is an accessible documentary that serves mostly as a vehicle for awareness and its refreshing in the sense that Chiba Stearns seems to be becoming aware right alongside us. While Chiba Stearns's personal reflections, especially in the early scenes, feel a tad intrusive and unnecessary, centering the film around Athena Asklipiadis and her Mixed Marrow organization gives the film an involving foundation that keeps us watching for the film's entire running time.

For more information on Mixed Match, visit the film's website linked to in the credits. For ticket information, visit Heartland Film

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic