Emmy-nominated actor Art Acuña
MANILA, Philippines -- Emmy-nominated actor Art Acuña credits timing for the recent strides he's made in his career, among them his back-to-back roles in the 2013 edition of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.
After his award-winning portrayals in films like "Posas" and "Niño," Acuña returns to the indie scene with roles in two entries to this year's Cinemalaya -- Christopher Ad Castillo's "The Diplomat Hotel" and Emmanuel Quindo Palo's "David F," which are both competing in the New Breed category.
"When it rains, it pours, you know. Good stories, great roles, I don't turn that down. It's my thing," the actor told ABS-CBN News' Mario Dumaual in an interview on Thursday.
In "The Diplomat Hotel," Acuña stars with Gretchen Barretto, Mon Confiado, Joel Torre, Sue Prado, Nico Antonio, Abe Pagtama and newcomer Sarah Gaugler.
Relating the plot of the film, which is billed as a psychological horror, Acuña said, "I play a member of Gretchen Barretto's news team. She's the newscaster and I'm the cameraman. We got through a trauma early on in the movie, which then jumps to a year later."
"She's trying to get back into the game... We're assigned this really 'nothing' job of covering the Diplomat Hotel in Baguio, and I say, 'I'll join you, let's do it, let's be the team for that.' And that's when things happen, when they go there," he said.
Situated at Dominican Hill in Baguio City, the actual Diplomat Hotel ceased operations in the late 1980s and has since been rumored to be haunted.
Acuña's second film in this year's Cinemalaya is similarly inspired by real-life events. In "David F," the actor portrays one of the captors of David Fagen, an actual American soldier who joined Philippine forces in the country's war with the United States in the early 1900s.
"It's about a little-known anecdote back during the Fil-Am war when an African-American soldier started to side with the Filipinos and fight against the Americans," Acuña said.
"I'm one of the Pinoys who kidnapped David F. to turn him in for the bounty. Sid Lucero is the other Pinoy who does this with me. But then we start to argue about what we have to do, and then morality plays into the picture," he said.
Joining Acuña in the film's cast is American theater actor Quester Hannah, who portrays David Fagen, along with Rocky Salumbides, Mitch Valdes, Jess Mendoza, Mariella Castillo, Dax Martin, and Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino.
With "Posas" and "Niño" -- both Cinemalaya entries -- earning him numerous best supporting actor trophies from different award-giving bodies, is Acuña hoping to pull of a winning streak with his film entries this year?
"You know, I remember a speech given by (director) Peque Gallaga. He said, 'Sometimes, it's just the timing, a zeitgeist.' His speech was very good, because he won and he said that all the nominees are actually winners.
"But sometimes the timing for one is just more appropriate for what's going on, what's current. He's right, eh. Timing lang 'yan. Ako, I don't do it for awards. I do it because I love it," he said.