Erik Matti, one of the Philippines’ most celebrated filmmakers, is set to direct a prequel to “On The Job: The Missing 8,” his critically acclaimed political crime thriller franchise.

Reteaming Matti and screenwriter Michiko Yamamoto, the untitled pic will mark the third film in the “On The Job” trilogy which kicked off at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2013, and traveled worldwide.

“On The Job” was inspired by a real-life scandal in which prison inmates were temporarily released from prison to work as contract killers on behalf of politicians and high-ranking military officials.

The prequel, which Matti and Ronald Monteverde are producing under their Manila based Reality MM Studios banner, is set against the turbulent backdrop of the island of Mindanao where Pedring Eusebio, the corrupt Mayor of a fictional city called La Paz, rises to power. Eusebio, who started out in the rebel paramilitary group New People’s Army, has become the most influential politician and feared man in La Paz.

Filipino actor Jericho Rosales has been cast as Pedring Eusebio, and Ryan Agoncillo as Rene Pacheco, a high-ranking military official who makes his way into politics. Further cast will be announced at a later stage.

Principal photography is set to begin in the third quarter of 2023 in Philippines, with Matti’s regular cinematographer Dino Piacino lensing.  The film will boast a soundtrack, according to the production.

“I love 1970s Hollywood crime films, or French Jean-Pierre Melville-type cop corruption movies that are no longer being made, although these are films that audiences still enjoy,” said Matti.

“The prequel to ‘On The Job” and “On The Job: The missing 8″ provides another opportunity to bring a fresh, new Filipino crime story with international appeal to the world,” Matti continued.

The second film in the trilogy, “On The Job: The Missing 8” represents Philippines in the Oscar race. The movie played at Venice and won John Arcilla the Volpi Cup in the Horizons section.

A leading figure in the Manila film industry, Matti has directed nearly 20 features in the Philippines, spanning family dramas such as “Mano Po 2: My Home,” to the superhero comedy “Gagamboy,” supernatural action adventure film “Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles,” and several commercially successful horror films such as “Seklusyon” and “Kuwaresama.”

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