John Arcilla crowned Best Actor at Venice Film Festival for ‘On The Job: The Missing 8’

The Filipino actor plays a journalist in Erik Matti's crime thriller

Filipino actor John Arcilla has won the award for Best Actor at the 78th Venice Film Festival.

Arcilla won for his performance as undercover journalist Sisoy Salas in director Erik Matti’s crime movie On The Job: The Missing 8.


Following the announcement of his win, Arcilla shared a video on Instagram thanking the organisers and panel of judges at this year’s festival.

Arcilla, who was unable to attend the festival due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, pledged to bring his Volpi Cup trophy to Venice once restrictions ease to bask in the achievement.

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


Director Erik Matti, who accepted the award on Arcilla’s behalf, said in a statement to Rappler: “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.”


Other notable wins at the 78th Venice Film Festival include Penélope Cruz’s Best Actress win for Madres Paralelas, Audrey Diwan’s L’Evènement win for Best Film and Jane Campion’s Best Director win for The Power Of The Dog.

On The Job: The Missing 8 is a six-episode limited crime thriller series that follows the release of high-profile criminals from prison in order to carry out contracted assassinations on politicians.

Over the course of the show, journalist Sisoy Salas (Arcilla) goes undercover alongside law enforcement to discover the truth behind the politicians’ deaths.

On The Job first debuted as a film at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. In July, its 208-minute sequel movie found a home at HBO – but in the form of a limited series. The original film has since been edited to form the first two episodes of On The Job: The Missing 8.

On The Job: The Missing 8 premiered its first three episodes on HBO GO in Asia on Sunday (September 12). Its three remaining episodes will air on subsequent Sundays until October 3.