After his much-awaited series On The Job 2: The Missing 8 made its world premiere at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival as part of the Director's Fortnight category earlier this month, director Erik Matti extended his stay abroad to see the sights which ultimately led to an unexpected close encounter with the pope.
In a recent Instagram post, the talented director revealed how they were able to see the Pope Francis up close by sharing a short video clip and story behind the exciting experience at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy.
He wrote, “We went out to dinner with a Filipino priest (that I will keep anonymous for security reasons introduced to us by Carmelengo Ernest Escaler) who told us a top secret, confidential, Dan Brown-Robert Langdon level information about the highest leader in the Catholic church (second to God, maybe), the Pope.
“Every time he comes from his travels outside of Italy, when he returns he passes by this small church to give an offering to Mama Mary. Everyone at the table were wide-eyed and excited at the prospect of probably seeing the Pope up close without much fanfare with an air of exclusivity that probably only us would enjoy without the world knowing about it
“The Pope was in a trip in Bratislava. The priest informer made some calls and found out when he will be arriving. 3 pm the next day. Our priest informer then added that the Pope has a sweet spot for Filipinos and the way to get his attention is to call out ‘Viva Lolo Kiko’ (Kiko being a nickname of Filipinos for Francis).”
In the same post, the Bacolod born director shared what he and his group planned to do once they caught sight of the Pope.
When we went back to our apartment, we planned the biggest, riskiest ambush of our lives. @dondonmonteverde ‘Attack the church before 3 pm and get ready to call out the Pope.’ We had all our religious objects prepared for Pope’s blessings. It will be swift and fast.
“@michikuda rehearsed the line with me, ‘Viva Lolo Rico!’. I corrected her, ‘Viva Lolo KIKO!’ Not Rico. And she rehearsed it over and over again. Kiko, Kiko, Kiko. Not Rico.
“The Pope marched inside the church at 3:40 pm. Michikuda clutches all the rosaries for our families in ready for God’s graces to shine upon it. The Pope strides closer. Michiko readies to shout. He is a few feet away limping towards the chapel where he will offer a single rose to Mama Mary. Michiko steps forward and shouts, ‘Viva Lolo RICOOO!!!’ Ahm…’Viva Lolo Kikooo!!!’
“The Pope smiles. Blesses us all. Now, I can sin some more,” he wrote.
Aside from five minute standing ovation during the film’s screening at the festival, Erik Matti’s latest masterpiece On The Job 2: The Missing 8 earned praises at the Venice Film Festival with his lead actor John Arcilla even winning the prestigious Best Actor award while On The Job: The Missing 8 entered the main competition for the much-coveted Gold Lion prize.
Erik Matti’s film follows the story of a corrupt reporter for a local newspaper who goes on an investigation following the disappearance of his colleagues and a hitman who does everything to regain his freedom. In previous interviews, direk Erik said that On the Job 2 is the longest film he has done in terms of production length and in running time after working on it for almost three years as a sequel to his acclaimed crime thriller film On the Job which starred Gerald Anderson, Piolo Pascual, and Joel Torre.