John Arcilla joins elite company with Venice Best Actor win


It’s history in the making for one of the best Filipino actors of our time.

John Arcilla won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his role as journalist Sisoy Salas in Erik Matti’s ‘On the Job: The Missing 8’. The nod places Arcilla in the same vein with acting greats like Javier Bardem, Willem Dafoe, Colin Firth, Adam Driver, and Brad Pitt.

The same actors inspired Arcilla, who wished for a Filipino winner on an Instagram post, hours before nabbing the prize himself. Arcilla, who wasn’t in Italy when the nod was announced, gave his acceptance speech on IG, calling the award ‘prestigious’ and a ‘milestone’ in his career.

‘If there’s one thing I regret tonight, it’s the fact that I’ll not be able to see my picture there, kissing my own Volpi Cup, just like the other 77 actors who received their most prestigious award.’

Apart from thanking his family and director Erik Matti, who accepted the award on his behalf, Arcilla described cinema as the great unifier of people despite their various backgrounds.

‘I can feel the oneness, this tremendous oneness, and understanding. I know that we can understand each other despite our differences, and it’s because of the arts – the arts of cinema.’

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What’s next for On The Job 2?

OTJ2, the only Filipino entry at the festival, received a five-minute standing ovation when it premiered. Apart from Arcilla, the film features an all-star cast, such as Dennis Trillo, Christopher De Leon, Dante Rivero, and Leo Martinez.

The project took four years to make, with the creative struggles acknowledged by Erik Matti in multiple IG posts, but calling the script and the story ‘worth the wait’.

OTJ2, with its 3-hour runtime, will be released on HBO Max as a six-part miniseries, with the first film being split into the first two episodes. There are no plans for an official domestic release given the COVID-19 pandemic. A third film is planned to cap off the trilogy, which will unite characters from previous entries.

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