Marriott Content Studio is gearing up audiences for its upcoming flick. The studio branch of the global hotel chain has released the trailer for its second short film French Kiss, which will premiere on May 19, 2015.
Self-described as a “mystical romance,” the 24-minute French Kiss tells the story of a young, job-obsessed American named Ethan (played by Tyler Ritter). While in Paris for an innovation conference at the Champs Élysées Marriott hotel, Ethan is goaded into following a string of unusual, magical clues strewn across the city by his secret admirer Margaux (French model and actress Margot Luciarte). Ethan finally starts to experience the joys of Paris instead of worrying about work, but whether Margaux is real or just a muse remains to be seen.
Announced back in April 2015, French Kiss is part of a larger plan Marriott introduced back in October 2014 to create content which engages millennial travelers while also promoting Marriott’s chain of hotels around the world. Marriott’s stunt-filled Two Bellmen, which debuted on March 10, 2015, was the studio’s first foray into the world of short films; Two Bellmen has garnered over 5 million total global views to date.
For French Kiss, the digital studio partnered with producers Ian Sander and Kim Moses from Sander/Moses & SLAM Productions, the team behind TV shows like Profiler and Ghost Whisperer. Marriott also brought on Ghost Whisperer executive producer John Gray to direct the short feature.
“I have known Kim and Ian for years and have admired their work as incredible, innovative storytellers who truly engage their audiences,” David Beebe, VP of Creative and Content Marketing for Marriott Content Studio at Marriott International, wrote in an email. “Much like the rest of their work, the first cut of the film shows the high quality, production values, and special effects that are so important to them and will capture the audience’s imagination. They were a natural fit for us and I am confident French Kiss will prove this collaboration a huge success when it’s released on May 19.”
Moses also expressed her joy in working with Marriott, which the French Kiss producer claims gave her team more creative freedom, resources, and support than it was ever used to working with in Hollywood. “Working with Marriott has made me realize even more than ever how exciting the opportunities are outside the traditional Hollywood content system and that the shift going on in the content business is headed for great changes because of the way the Marriott Content Studio is doing business,” she explained.
Moses cited an on-set example of Marriott’s dedication to the French Kiss project:
“At one point during the shoot, we had to quickly change a shot because of weather problems and needed flowers to pump up the set. Walid Saighi, Director of Sales and Marketing at the hotel — who happened to be in the midst of running a big event at the hotel and a hundred other things, I’m sure, cause they’re all multi-taskers there — stopped what he was doing and marched our production designer down the street to a top French florist to get us the giant sweep of flowers we needed to continue shooting.”
As for Ritter, the actor was also impressed with Marriott’s entire production team and even hotel staff. “They supported the cast and crew both physically and creatively, keeping their doors open 24 hours a day for the shoot as well as for our stay,” Ritter explained. “When you can wrap a full day of work and then find yourself in your room within two minutes, you know you are in a lucky spot.”
And of course, Ritter is proud of the message in French Kiss, which inspires people to “listen to that optimistically curious voice which unfortunately we all too often ignore in the name of following a career path.” “This film encourages us to consider what we might be missing while running through life, sprinting from one meeting to the next,” he said. “I hope that Ethan’s journey compels our viewers to keep their heads up and eyes open in search of some meaning that may be waiting right in front of them.”
You can watch French Kiss on May 19 via Marriott’s YouTube channel. The film will also be available on Marriott.com, and through other outlets like theaters and the hotel chain’s in-room entertainment options.