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"On the Job: The Missing 8" Stars John Arcilla and Andrea Brillantes Talk About Filipino Artistry

World-class Filipino artistry and talent shine in this Erik Matti crime thriller film, which is the sole Philippine entry at the 78th Venice International Film Festival

Back in 2013, director Erik Matti and writer Michiko Yamamoto’s masterpiece, On the Job, made a mark in the Philippine cinema, captivating the audience with its compelling storytelling and the credibility of its actors. 


On the Job starred Gerald Anderson, Joel Torre, Joey Marquez and Piolo Pascual. Gerald and Joel played the roles of temporarily released prisoners hired to carry out political executions. Joey and Piolo, on the other hand, are law enforcers investigating a drug related-murder case that’s connected to this contract killing.


The movie was award-winning and critically-acclaimed, and it received great feedback when it was featured at the Directors' Fortnight during the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. 



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Eight years later, One the Job’s sequel, On the Job: The Missing 8, finally premiered on September 10 at the 78th Venice International Film Festival, where it’s competing for the Golden Lion. It’s the sole Filipino entry at the prestigious Italian film festival一the world’s oldest-running competition for Philippine cinema一where South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) has been appointed as the President of the Jury. 


The crime thriller film stars John Arcilla, Dennis Trillo, Joey Marquez, Dante Rivero, and Christopher de Leon. Also part of the cast are Lotlot de Leon, Wendell Ramos, Leo Martinez, Ricky Davao, William Martinez, Vandolph Quizon, Eric Fructuoso, Rayver Cruz, Agot Isidro, Ina Feleo, Isabelle de Leon, Andrea Brillantes and Sol Cruz.


On the Job: The Missing 8 has also been given a platform to reach an international audience through HBO GO, and will be released as a mini series with six episodes. The first three episodes will be available for streaming and download on September 12, Sunday, with new episodes premiering every subsequent Saturday. 



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Truly, things are looking up in Philippine cinema in terms of its reach and recognition as well as the maturity of the Filipino audience to embrace stories like this.


“A decade ago, na-accept na nga mga Filipino audience ng mainstream ang gray characters. Natatanggap na nila ang bida na nagkakamali, and then nagbabago. Natatanggap na nila ang kontrabidang umiiyak, and then somehow, they sympathize with the villain... and then you can suddenly communicate that this villain turned into that kind of person because of his past,” said John Arcilla (Heneral Luna, Halaw) who plays Sisoy, a small town reporter.



It is fitting that John played a part in a story that can possibly touch or enlighten its audience because that is the kind of energy and effect he has brought with him through his roles since his early days in acting. “Since I was young, siguro ganun kasi ’yung klase ng energy ko, since I started in theater. Every time I step on the stage, every show I have, I always say, this is for the Filipino people. I wish I can touch somebody’s heart, somebody’s broken soul so that I can heal some broken souls and some broken hearts. Ang buhay ng artista is not only to entertain, but also to enlighten,” he explained.


John also highlighted the film’s artistry and bravery as aspects that its audiences will surely appreciate. He added, “I think it is one of the bravest, most powerful and best Filipino films produced and mounted this year. That this film is not an advocacy project, I hope it opens the eyes of a lot of world citizens about the realities most societies are collectively experiencing from.”



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Andrea Brillantes (Annaliza, Kadenang Ginto) plays the role of Diane, the daughter of Sisoy. The 18-year-old actress was more than happy to be part of the project that has allowed her to really flex her acting muscles.


“We took a long while to shoot this project and every shooting day may natututunan po akong bago sa mga veteran stars na nakasama ko. Parati po nila akong gina-guide at dahil po doon mas china-challenge ko rin ang sarili ko na mag-level up pa sa bawat eksena,” she said.


But more importantly, Andrea is beaming with pride that Filipinos are able to create projects that can take on the international stage. Andrea shared, “Hindi po laging may ganitong opportunity kaya sobrang thankful po ako na kasama ako sa series na ito. And to have the chance to reach a wider audience, ’yan po sana ang gusto natin, ang mas makilala ang galing ng mga Pinoy as world-class creators. Sana po magtuloy-tuloy pa ang pagkilala sa atin.



Both John Arcilla and Andrea Brillantes are Star Magic artists. John recently joined the talent agency’s roster of talents at the Star Magic Black Pen Day event, while Andrea turned 18 last March with a grand debut-themed photo shoot for Metro.Style


Lead photos courtesy of Star Magic and from @johnarcilla