Two Johns bringing pride: John Arcilla at Venice Film Festival and EJ Obiena at Austria pole vault tilt

September 13, 2021 - 3:26 PM
Philippines' Ernest John Obiena in action during the men's pole vault at the Diamond League held in King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium in Sept. 3, 2021 (Reuters/Johanna Geron); John Arcilla promoting Lyka app in this photo on his Instagram on July 15, 2021 (Instagram/johnarcilla)

Two “Johns” were celebrated over the weekend after actor John Arcilla and pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena became winners in international events in their respective fields.

John as an actor 

Arcilla is the first Filipino to win the Best Actor at the 78th Venice International Film Festival, the oldest film festival in the world and one of the “Big Three” which includes the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival.

READ: French film on illegal abortion, John Arcilla win top prize at Venice festival

The veteran actor on Sunday was reported to have bested  Benedict Cumberbatch, Antonio Banderas, Oscar Isaac and Tim Roth.

Arcilla received his first Volpi Cup for his performance in the Erik Matti-directed movie “On The Job: The Missing 8,” which will also be shown as a six-part miniseries on HBO Asia.

It is a sequel to the acclaimed 2013 action-thriller “On the Job.”

“On the Job: The Missing 8” tells the story of a corrupt journalist, played by Arcilla, who looks into the mysterious disappearances of his colleagues, and a prisoner temporarily freed to carry out assassinations.

Matti accepted Arcilla’s Volpi Cup on his behalf and dedicated it to the ensemble cast of the movie.

“If there is something I really regret tonight, it is I won’t be able to kiss my own Volpi cup there in the middle of Venice and on that red carpet just like all other 77 actors who I admire who have kissed their own prestigious award one actor could ever have,” Arcilla said in a pre-recorded video aired on the event.

“I know we came from different countries and we have different languages and culture, yet I can feel the oneness tonight, and I can feel that you understand me and we understand each other just because of the art of cinema. So thank you so much,” he added.

Arcilla is the first Southeast Asian actor to have won the Best Actor in the prestigious film festival.

He has won multiple awards in television and film in the Philippines and is known for portraying General Antonio Luna in the 2015 biopic “Heneral Luna.”

John as an athlete 

Meanwhile, Obiena set a new national and Asian record by winning gold at the 2021 Golden Roof Challenge held in Austria on Saturday (early Sunday morning in Manila time).

He cleared a 5.93 meters tiff which broke the previous national record of 5.91 meters that he set a few weeks ago in the Paris Diamond League.

Obiena’s new record also bested the Asian record set by Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich at 5.92 meters in 1998.

He also bagged silver recently in the 2021 Kamila Skolimowska Memorial tournament in Poland.

The 25-year-old athlete likewise ranked fifth in the latest World Athletics ranking of men’s pole vault.

Obiena failed to make a podium finish when he made his debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but vowed that he “will be back to win.”

Their win, which was both reported on Sunday, was lauded by their fellow Filipinos who noticed that they bear similar names.