In an unusual move, the Philippines’ Oscar entry “On the Job: The
Missing 8” was a nominee for the Intl. Emmys this year. It’s a sequel to Erik Matti’s 2013 “On the Job,” which took place in Manila and was reformatted into an eponymous miniseries that combines scenes from both films and is streaming on HBO Max.

Nominated for television movie/miniseries, “Missing 8” was conceived as a film but due to the pandemic the filmmakers pivoted to the small screen. 

The six-part miniseries didn’t win at the I-Emmys but has garnered other prizes since its premiere as a film at Venice. “On the Job: The Missing 8” won the Volpi Cup for actor for its lead, John Arcilla, making him the first Filipino thespian to win such a prestigious award. 

“We knew it was a mountain to climb, but we wanted to be present at the International Emmy Awards, win or lose,” Matti says. “We didn’t attend to stake out the competition, we attended to know the feeling of what it takes to be amongst the best in the world. And seeing everything that made it to the nominations and as winners, we saw the diverse stories that everyone can offer, and the realization is, that not all stories are worth telling, that it has to be after all, affecting, insightful, human, honest.”

Penned by Matti’s wife, Michiko Yamamoto, the film chronicles an all too common occurrence in some parts of the world: “On the Job: The Missing 8” centers on the search for missing journalists, victims of a mafia-like political system.

The drama follows journalist/radio host Sisoy (Arcilla) who seeks answers on the disappearance of
his colleagues.

Matti says the film “explores the complex interplay of media, fake news, and politics as seen in the 2016 national elections in the Philippines and the United States. This is a film that goes to the core of the questions hounding us in trying to understand why we are in this vicious cycle of corruption
and impunity.”