MANILA -- Veteran actor and "On the Job (OTJ)" star Joel Torre recalled his unexpected and emotional win at a recent international film festival in South Korea, where the Erik Matti-directed film also won a top award.
The 52-year-old Torre was named Best Actor for his role as a veteran assassin in "OTJ" at the recent 17th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan), which also awarded the Jury's Choice honor to the crime-thriller co-produced by Star Cinema and Reality Entertainment.
The film centers on inmates, such as Torre's Tatang, who are temporarily released from jail to become contract killers for corrupt politicians.
The "Juan dela Cruz" star ended up personally receiving the "unexpected" recognition, saying he was not even aware the a Best Actor trophy was to be handed out.
"Hindi ko alam na may Best Actor category pala. I was there to represent the country para sa 'On the Job.' Tapos no'ng last day na, noong nakita ko 'yung... meron palang best actor," Torre said in a video interview released Friday on Star Cinema's official YouTube page.
Caught in shock when his name was called, Torre said he couldn't help but become emotional as he stood on stage to deliver his winning speech.
"Nung in-announce 'yung pangalan ko, na nanalo ako, it was a shock, at the same time, a disbelief. Kasi nasa international stage na tayo, tapos na-meet ko pa ang filmmakers, and it was a good crop.
"So noong pinaakyat na ako sa entablado to receive the award, parang angdami kong gusto sabihin. But it struck me, naging emotional ako kasi naisip ko nga agad how proud I am to represent the country," he said.
Apart from his own achievement, Torre was doubly proud that "OTJ," after holding its world premiere at this year's Cannes film festival, once again reaped international recognition ahead of its local showing.
"'Yung hard work na ginawa namin, na-reward pa ng jury award. So tuwang-tuwa ako na halos maiyak-iyak na ang nasabi ko lang, 'Maraming, maraming salamat.' But I was so proud na dala-dala ko 'yung pelikula ng Pilipinas, dala-dala namin ang pelikulang Pilipino," Torre said.
Asked to whom he dedicates the award, Torre said, "Of course, I dedicated the award sa asawa ko, sa mga anak ko, at sa lahat ng Pinoy, lalo na sa mga Filipino filmmakers."
"Let this be an inspiration na kayang-kaya natin. Kayang-kaya ng Pinoy. Alam naman natin 'yon eh, kaya dapat gawin natin," he added.
Also starring Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson, Angel Aquino, Shaina Magdayao and Joey Marquez, "OTJ" is set to hit Philippine theaters on August 28.
The film is also set to be released in the United States in the fall, after its Cannes premiere impressed independent distributor Well Go USA to acquire the distribution rights.