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READ: John Arcilla's Inspiring Acceptance Speech Transcript from the Venice International Film Festival

'We understand each other despite our differences and it’s because of the art-the art of cinema. Of lights, colors, music, languages, words, and sets.'
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It was a historic moment for Filipino cinema over the weekend when John Arcilla bagged the prestigious Coppi Volpi (Volpi Cup) for Best Actor at the 78th Venice International Film Festival for his leading role in Erik Matti’s On The Job: The Missing 8. 

He is the first Filipino to ever do so and the first Asian to be awarded since 1994. 

What is the Volpi Cup? 

The Volpi Cup is one of the most prestigious awards for actors. Every year, two Volpi Cups are given out: one for Best Actor and another for Best Actress. Previous recipients of the coveted Best Actor award include: Adam Driver, Willem Dafoe, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, and Sean Penn.

The Venezia ’78 jury for the main competition was led by Bong Joon-ho, the director of South Korea’s Parasite.

What is On The Job: The Missing 8 about?

The sequel to Erik Matti’s 2013 hit On The Job, The Missing 8 follows the story of Sisoy Salas (John Arcilla), a corrupt journalist whose morals are tested when he must investigate the disappearance of his colleagues. Also starring in the film is Dennis Trillo as Roman Rubio, a hitman who’s frequently released from prison to commit assassinations. 

On The Job: The Missing 8 will be made available for streaming on the Philippines on HBO Go, where it will air as a six-episode series. The first two episodes of the series will be extended versions of 2013’s On The Job, while episode three to six will comprise The Missing 8.

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On The Job: The Missing 8 was the only Southeast Asian entry to the 78th Venice Film Festival, and received a five-minute standing ovation at its premiere. 

Erik Matti received the prestigious Coppa Volpi on Arcilla’s behalf as he was unable to attend the awarding ceremony, but the newest Volpi Cup recipient uploaded his acceptance speech on Instagram. 

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Here is the transcript of John Arcilla’s acceptance speech for his historic Volpi Cup award. 

Venice International Film Festival, mille grazie. Mille mille grazie.

If there’s one thing that I regret tonight, it’s that I will not be able to see my picture there, kissing my own Volpi Cup just like the 77 actors who received their most prestigious award in the middle of Venice on that red carpet. So I promised myself that as soon as the climate is more friendlier, I will fly at once to Venice, wear my tux, bring this Volpi of mine, go straight to where the video is being positioned, and kiss my own Volpi cup. The most sweetest kiss that I can have. 

And if there’s one thing that made me the happiest actor tonight, it’s that I know for a fact that we came from different countries, different continents with different cultures, colors, creed, and languages, but yet I can feel the oneness—this tremendous oneness—and understanding that we understand each other despite our differences and it’s because of the art—the art of cinema. Of lights, colors, music, languages, words, and sets. And this is such a very wonderful feeling of oneness and understanding that’s too precious not to share so I want to share this with all the people we love back home and all the people you love back home in your own countries who are now suffering from a certain virus of being separated from one another, isolated, sad, sick, and alone. 

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And there’s another virus that’s also actually happening globally, and it’s the virus of hate that has the same effect of separation of our differences, skin, and maybe political colors. Somehow, these wishes may ease their pain and suffering so that’s why I thank you.

Erik Matti, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to play Sisoy and to give me the opportunity to breathe through Sisoy and Sisoy through me because now I’m here, this is the result, and I was able to share this message to other people, so thank you so much. 

Dondon Monteverde, thank you for entrusting me with this particular project. Thank you so much, you guys rock, I love you both. 

And since it’s another culmination of my work as an actor, so there will be a lot of names to come, so I would like to dedicated this award to my father who left us within this pandemic—Dominador Gil Arcilla—and my brother, Emmanuel Arcilla, who also left us during this pandemic due to diabetes but it was aggravated by this virus. And finally to my youngest sister, this vibrant, beautiful, energetic, and jolly youngest sister of mine (Teresa) who just a week ago left us due to the same reasons. And finally to my eldest brother, who actually left us several years back when I was young. I just want the world to hear their names because they played significant roles in my journey as an actor as I create characters, as I create and tell stories, they are my biggest inspirations and influences and my biggest fans. 

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If there’s one wish God will allow me to have tonight, it’s to make this wonderful award turn it into a kiss so it will seal and close the door where this virus is dwelling so my wishes can ease the pain and sufferings of all the people we love from all our countries.

So, thank you so much again. After all, we do these things, we do what we do, because we create stories, we discover new content, because we want to discover more about our world and we want to have a better, friendlier world. So maybe it’s not too ideal to wish for these matters. So once again, Venice International Film Festival, God bless you, God bless everyone, God bless the earth, all the earthlings, God bless the Philippines, god bless my family and god bless you all. 

Thank you so much. Mabuhay. 

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Anri Ichimura
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