Roxlee is Animahenasyon 2010 lifetime achievement awardee
"I think maturity helps. I’m not sure if the films I did before were all just goofs. They are comedies, satires, but with values maybe."
- Roxlee on the values of film
“Philippine New Wave: This is not a Film Movement”
Roque Federizon Lee, better known as Roxlee, is an independent animator. He was born to Chit Lee and Fortuna Federizon in Naga City, Camarines Sur on August 16, 1950.
He completed his elementary years at Naga Elementary School, finished high school at Ateneo De Naga, and earned his architecture degree from the National University in Manila. He started out as a cartoonist--first contributing cartoons to Jingle Magazine, and then doing the comic strip Cesar Asar for Manila Bulletin in collaboration with his brother Monlee since 1981.
He is a pioneer of independent film animation in the Philippines. Working outside the "factory" system, usually with only one or two collaborators, he’s a magician who can instantly conjure up an original piece working only with the barest of materials, usually with just pen and paper and ink.
Spontaneity and irreverent situational ideas are paramount for him over fanciful techniques and linear storytelling. His edgy approach can be likened to the films of Bill Plympton, whose surreal sense of humor he shares. What is incalculable is his originality as an animator and filmmaker, which can be considered as an attempt to create a modern Filipino style and philosophy of filmmaking.
His early works were done in super-8 film--divided between hand-drawn scratchy works like The Great Smoke, and pixilated live action pieces like Juan Gapang. Both are now considered classics of the independent film movement of the 1980s.
In the 2000s, he reinvented himself as a digital filmmaker. His "12 commandments of filmmaking" has turned him into some kind of guru, an inspiration to filmmakers young and old.
Although he never worked in the animation industry, Roxlee’s independent approach to filmmaking has influenced a whole generation of younger animators, many of whom first took up courses at the Mowelfund Film Institute in the 80s and 90s. Some of these animators are now stalwarts in the industry.
Roxlee also has a modest but keen international following, mostly in Western Europe, Japan and Singapore. Maybe computers and 3D animation software may have made Roxlee’s animation antiquated and old school, but he has proven that anyone can be an animator, as long as he has pen, paper, ink, interesting ideas, and the will to get it done.
"Thou shall not lose the passion of making films, just work and work up to the last breath."
- Roxlee’s 12th Commandment of Independent Filmmakers