John Arcilla says HBO is helping market 'On The Job: The Missing 8' for Oscars 2023

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
John Arcilla says HBO is helping market 'On The Job: The Missing 8' for Oscars 2023
John Arcilla
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Award-winning actor John Arcilla shared that HBO is helping the Philippine entry to the 95th Academy Awards or Oscars 2023, "On The Job: The Missing 8," in its marketing campaign to be selected in the Best International Feature Film shortlist.

The sequel by Erik Matti first premiered at the 78th Venice Film Festival last year where Arcilla won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor. HBO picked up the film and its predecessor to go with a miniseries of the same name.

"The Missing 8" is actually Arcilla's fourth film to have been submitted to the Oscars. The first was the 2013 film "Metro Manila," produced by a British film company. The other two were "Heneral Luna" (2015) and "Birdshot" (2016). 

In an exclusive interview with Philstar.com at the "Happier Together" photo exhibit at The Podium last November 29 which Arcilla graced, the actor shared the marketing efforts of past entries and how it could affect his latest film's chances.

A common problem that Arcilla found among all the submissions, which most international and independent films also face, is how to market them to Academy voters.

"Akala ng mga Filipinos kasi na once entry na, they think nomination na 'yun," Arcilla said. He said this makes producers more relaxed in their marketing efforts "because feeling nila sa bahay natin, we already have the prestige," when it is only still considered a submission.

The award-winning actor admitted to not being excited about his films being selected as entries to the Oscars, not to take advantage of the notion that Filipinos have something to be proud of but rather to wait for the realistic recognition of a nomination.

Related: Philippines to submit 'On The Job: The Missing 8' to 2023 Oscars

As early as 1953 since the Philippines first submitted "Genghis Khan," no Filipino film has been nominated at the Academy Awards in the Best International Feature Film category (formerly the Best Foreign Language Film).

The late directors Marilou Diaz-Abaya and Gil Portes have had three of their films submitted — "Karnal," "Milagros" and "Sa Pusod ng Dagat" for Diaz-Abaya and "Saranggola," "Gatas... Sa Dibdib ng Kaaway" and "Mga Munting Tinig" for Portes.

Arcilla recalled that for "Metro Manila," there was a requirement of 50,000 DVD copies to be given to eligible voters, but there was not enough money to produce them.

"Talagang kailangan pala ng pera, not to push it for a win, but to push it to the voters! To make ingay!" the actor exclaimed. "Kung hindi ako maingay, no one will watch you, your movie will never be nominated."

In the case of HBO helping with the marketing campaign for "The Missing 8," Arcilla is confident the network will be allotting sufficient funds, especially if it believes the film has a good chance of competing.

Arcilla added that he plans to join the film's campaign before the Oscars shortlists are announced.

'Not self-serving'

A year after the film premiered in Venice, "The Missing 8" won Arcilla his first-ever Gawad Urian for Best Actor, in addition to the film winning eight other awards, including Best Film and Best Director for Matti, but more accolades are far from the actor's mind.

Of the film's young but already enduring legacy, Arcilla told Philstar.com that "The Missing 8" reflects not just Philippine society but even global injustice and corruption, in addition to its intention to be honest.

Related: 'On The Job: The Missing 8' dominates 45th Gawad Urian

"I think it speaks from our hearts, and a lot of societies and countries can really relate," shared Arcilla. "It's very universal. It was presented uniquely and powerfully through the eyes of Erik Matti, but it's been happening to a lot of societies around the globe."

After a sigh of relief, Arcilla admitted — without any intention to pull his own leg — that "The Missing 8" speaks to his soul to being one with what he believes in.

"I'm really sad with what is going on in a lot of societies because as I grow older... as I age na lang," the actor happily corrected before continuing, "Somehow it's really sad... I think it's getting worse. Saan tayo pupunta? Ang dami natin kailangan gawin bilang tao."

Arcilla, however, still believes in the magic of cinema, where viewers are entertained and educated at the same time.

"Ayoko magmukhang mga advocacy films ang mga gagawin ko. I believe we don't do these things, as actors and filmmakers, to serve ourselves. Whether we like it or not, we do what we do because we want a better, friendlier, healed world," Arcilla ended.

The tentative date for the Oscars shortlists announcement is December 21, 2022, followed by the announcement of nominees a month later.

The 95th Academy Awards will take place on March 12, 2023. It will be hosted once again by Jimmy Kimmel.

RELATED: John Arcilla shares inspiring message at 'On The Job: The Missing 8' Philippine premiere







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