John Arcilla wins Best Actor at 78th Venice Film Festival

John Arcilla bagged the Coppi Volpi (Volpi Cup) for Best Actor at the recently concluded 78th Venice Film Festival held in Venice, Italy for his performance in the movie On The Job: The Missing 8. 

The awarding ceremony was held early Sunday, September 12 (Saturday, September 11 in Italy). Arcilla won the coveted award for his portrayal of Sisoy Salas in the movie directed by Erik Matti, who received the award on his behalf. 

Academy Award-winning director Bong Joon-ho is the president of the jury for this year’s Venice Film Festival. He is joined by fellow Oscar winner Nomadland director Chloé Zhao, Cynthia Erivo, Alexander Nanau, Saverio Costanza, Virginie Efira, and Sarah Gadon.

Arcilla, who wasn’t in Italy, uploaded his virtual acceptance speech on Instagram. “If there’s one thing I regret tonight is, I will 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,” he began. 

“I know for a fact that we came from different countries, different continents with different cultures, colors, creeds, or languages. But 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.” 

In his caption, Arcilla wrote that the Volpi Cup is “a symbol of milestone” in his work as an actor. “This most prestigious award I received today lift up my spirit to the Heavens and I am transforming this joy, achievement or victory or honor into love so that the loved ones I am missing can feel my heart loving them,” he said. 

Director Matti uploaded a photo of the trophy and told Arcilla that he deserves the award. 

Matti also told Rappler that being part of the film festival was already a win, considering that the movie was four years in the making. “Oftentimes, it’s hard for us Filipinos to get our films [to] be seen by a wider audience. But On the Job, despite all that happened in the pandemic, still managed to do that for us and that’s what we’re proud of," he said.

Prior to the awarding ceremony, Arcilla posted on Instagram on Saturday, September 11, several photos of actors who won their Volpi Cups. “Here is the roster of some great actors who won the most coveted Volpi Cup at the Venice International Film Festival. I wish we can have one someday! Hahahaha If you dream as they say. Dream big!” he wrote. 

The On The Job sequel, starring Arcilla, Dennis Trillo, and Dante Rivero is the lone Philippine entry to the main competition. It received a five-minute standing ovation on its first showing at the prestigious film festival. 

Based on true events, On The Job: The Missing 8 tells the story of a local radio journalist Sisoy (Arcilla) and a hitman-inmate Roman (Trillo) as they negotiate and question their loyalty to a well-known politician, especially after eight people go missing.

On The Job: The Series is also set to begin streaming via HBO Go on September 12.  –