MANILA, PHILIPPINES, AUGUST 2, 2021 — From having an uncertain future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “On The Job: The Missing 8” by Erik Matti has notched astounding releases slated for September: a world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in Italy plus a worldwide release on streaming platform HBO GO.
In the 78th edition of the world’s oldest film festival, “On The Job: The Missing 8” is the only Southeast Asian film selected for the In Competition section, which has 21 entries.
Among the In Competition entries are opening film “Madres Paralelas” by Pedro Almodovar starring Penelope Cruz, “Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon” by Ana Lily Amirpour, and “The Lost Daughter,” the feature directorial debut of Maggie Gyllenhaal.
The sequel to Matti’s 2013 film “On The Job” (OTJ) will vie for the Golden Lion, the top prize of the prestigious festival. Academy Award Best Director Bong Joon-ho of multi-awarded South Korean film “Parasite” will preside over the competition jury.
Starring John Arcilla, Dennis Trillo, and Dante Rivero, “On The Job: The Missing 8” revolves around a journalist, portrayed by Arcilla, who looks into the disappearance of his colleagues. The main inmate-hitman of the sequel is portrayed by Trillo.
Other cast members include Christopher de Leon, Lotlot de Leon, Leo Martinez, Vandolph Quizon, Andrea Brillantes, Agot Isidro, Rayver Cruz, Eric Fructuoso, Wendell Ramos, Megan Young, Isabelle de Leon, and Levi Ignacio.
The Venice International Film Festival, with the theme “The Venice Biennale: Cinema in the Time of COVID,” will run from September 1 to 11.
Photo courtesy of Erik Matti
Worldwide online release as a series
The OTJ sequel selected by Venice, which runs for 3 hours and 28 minutes, will feature episodes from the six-part HBO Asia Original series “On The Job.” The crime thriller series will have a worldwide release on HBO GO in September.
The first two parts of the series comprise “On The Job,” top-billed by Joel Torre, Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson, and Joey Marquez, which had its world premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival in France.
In an interview with Khyne Palumar of NME, Matti shared, “The Missing 8 picks up where the first OTJ left off. It’s still built around prisoners being brought out of prison to kill, but the dynamics have changed because we had to introduce new characters involved in journalism along with the politicians, the cops, the prisoners. So it became a four-way story with characters of their own. It became a totally different movie.”
The award-winning filmmaker also revealed on a Facebook post that the film, produced by Reality Entertainment and Globe Studios, had four more shooting days when the pandemic happened. They were able to complete the film under many restrictions due to health and safety protocols.
“‘On The Job: The Missing 8’ is the only Filipino film that made it to the main competition of the top three film festivals (Venice, Berlin, and Cannes) this year, and the only Asian title in Venice’s main competition. This, together with its worldwide release online, is a remarkable feat not just for Philippine Cinema but for Asian Cinema as well. Congratulations to director Erik Matti and his team,” said Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño.
Lead actor Arcilla, for his part, told Mario Dumaual of ABS-CBN News: “Nakakataba ng puso na pasok kami sa standards ng Venice! I am also happy for my director, Erik Matti, and producer, Dondon Monteverde.”
The OTJ journey
A video on the OTJ franchise’s journey posted by Matti and Reality Entertainment on Facebook revealed that the first OTJ draft was written in 2009. This was done by Matti and his wife, awarded screenwriter Michiko Yamamoto.
“For years, no one wanted to bankroll a Philippine action thriller until 2012.” After OTJ’s Cannes world premiere in 2013, the writing process for the second installment began in 2017.
“In March 2018, ‘On The Job: The Missing 8’ started production. After more than two years and thrice the budget of the first one, ‘On The Job: The Missing 8’ wrapped principal photography in August 2020,” the video continued.
“But with cinemas closed and the pandemic still a constant threat, the future of the film remained uncertain. Until today,” noted the video posted on July 28. The Venice lineup was announced on July 26 while news on the HBO GO release was made known on July 28.
Cover photo features John Arcilla. Photo courtesy of Venice International Film Festival
August 31, 2021
August 17, 2021
August 05, 2021
July 23, 2021