Rox Lee | The Great Smoke, 1984 / 2011. Still from Super 8mm animation, transferred to HD, 6:00 | © Rox Lee, courtesy Merv Espina & Shireen Seno
In the context of the socio-political upheaval of the 1980s and 1990s, Rox Lee emerged from a community of artists centered around underground rock clubs and the Mowelfund Film Institute. More halfway house than institute, Mowelfund became the literal home of an awkward gang of friends that turned into an alternative cinema movement, a petri dish that synthesized the DNA now found everywhere in Philippine film and experimental media practice. Mowelfund was far from local: it had a very German presence through frequent collaborations with the Goethe-Institut Manila under the direction of Uwe Schmelter. Before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Goethe-Institut brought German film artists to Manile, with the likes of Christoph Janetzko, Birger Bustorff, and Harun Farocki, to conduct filmmaking workshops.
The selection shown here looks at films by Rox Lee’s immediate film community, who, like himself, were participants of these workshops. A number of the films produced there were shown in the Berlinale’s Forum program in 1989 and subsequently held in the archive of the Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art. Today they are considered the only surviving copies. They will now be shown to a wider audience in Germany for the first time. The program includes several films co-produced by the Goethe-Institut and focuses on co-influences, shared sensibilities, and their own sideways idiosyncrasies. The film program will be preceded by a short animation produced in a children's workshop led by Rox Lee at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, one of the public programs of “Misfits”: Pages from a loose-leaf modernity. The titles of this program are taken from a film by Regiben Romana produced in a 1989 optical printing workshop led by Christoph Janetzko. Romana is a close friend and collaborator of Rox Lee, immortalized as a recurring character in his comic strips as Reggie the Veggie.
D: Cesar Hernando, 2 min, 1987, Super 8 (digitaler Transfer)
Pilipinas: What do you think of the Philippines Mr. Janetzko?
D: Regiben Romana, 1989, 6 min, 16mm (digitaler Transfer)
Minsan Isang Panahon (Once Upon a Time)
D: Melchor Bacani III , 1989, 4 min (digitaler Transfer)
Bugtong: Ang Sigaw Ni Lalake (Riddle: Shout of Man)
D: RJ Leyran, 1989, 4 min, 16mm (digitaler Transfer)
D: Eli Guieb III & Jimbo Albano, 1989, 7 min, 16 mm
D: At Maculangan, 1989, 2 min, 16 mm
D: Yeye Calderon, 1989, 6 min, 16 mm#
What if you are color-blind?
D: Yam Laranas, 1988, 9 min, 16mm
D: Mike Alcazaren, Jo Atienza, Vic Bacani, Ricky Orellana, Allan Hilaro, 1989, 7 min, 16mm