Pride and Prestige: John Arcilla Becomes the First Filipino to Win The Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the World’s Oldest Film Festival - Arts & Culture

He joins a long list of winners in the history of Venice International Film Festival, including Brad Pitt, Liam Neeson, Javier Bardem, and Joaquin Phoenix.

The lone Filipino entry at the 78th Venice International Film Festival has resulted to a win at yesterday’s awarding ceremony. John Arcilla, who plays radio host Sisoy Salas in Erik Matti’s On The Job: Missing 8, took home the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the prestigious event.

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“If there was something I really regret tonight is that I won’t be able to kiss my own Volpi Cup there in the middle of Venice,” Arcilla says in a video as Matti accepted the award on his behalf.

“So I’m also the happiest actor tonight… I know we come from different countries, we have different languages and cultures, yet I can feel oneness tonight,” he continues. “I can feel that you understand me and we can understand each other just because of the art of cinema.”

Considered as the world’s oldest film festival, the Venice International been around since 1932. More than a handful of its participants and winners have gone on to make a name for themselves in the international movie scene. This includes Golden Lion winners Chloe Zhao, Alfonso Cuaron, Ang Lee, and Darren Aronofsky.

While no other Filipino actor has won an award at the event, Lav Diaz did win its top prize for Ang Babaeng Humayo in 2016.

Past recipients of the award that Arcilla won include Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, Sean Penn, Willem Dafoe, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Wesley Snipes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, and two-time winner Javier Bardem.

The president of this year’s jury is director Bong Joon Ho, whose 2019 film Parasite became the first non-English language film to win an Oscar for Best Picture. The Golden Lion award went to French-Lebanese director Audrey Diwan, only the sixth woman to do so, for her abortion drama L’Evénement.

Paolo Sorrentino took home the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize for his autobiographical film The Hand of God. Meanwhile, Penelop Cruz “upset” favored Kirsten Wig for the Volpi Cup for Best Actress, winning for her work in Pedro Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers. Maggie Gyllenhaal won Best Screenplay for The Lost Daughter, her debut as a writer-director.

A follow-up to the 2013 hit that starred Piolo Pascual and Gerald Anderson, Matti’s film revisits the world of inmates as hired assassins and political powerplays. Joey Marquez, Leo Martinez, and Rayver Cruz reprise their roles from the first film while Dennis Trillo, Christopher De Leon, and Agot Isidro joins the cast for the 2021 movie.

Arcilla, who was many awards in the country for his turns in such films as Heneral Luna, is understandably overwhelmed with this achievement. He is filled with gratitude for all those who supported him over the years.

“What I want now is to kiss the smiles and wishes of all you and the joyful memories of those who are gone to have this perfect celebration of triumph and life,” Arcilla says in an Instagram post. “To whoever is reading this you are in my cup and you are part of my inspirations.”

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