Spring fever erupted bigtime this week when “First Kiss,” a short film featuring 20 strangers kissing for the first time, hit the Web. Some outlets classified the video as “beautiful,” others, like Slate, were quick to point out that the vid was essentially an ad featuring lots of pretty professional entertainers.
The woman behind the video, however — fashion designer Melissa Coker — opines that despite its commercial classification and dazzling cast, everything that happens in the ad is 100 percent real, which is why it has managed to rack up more than 25 million views since Monday.
“Everyone was a volunteer,” Coker said, adding that the 20 people in the video were friends of either herself, director Tatia Pilieva or her clothing brand, Wren. “It’s kind of funny, the dialogue that sort of developed online and everything where people are like, ’This isn’t real, there’s actors in it!’ It’s like, ’Well, there’s some people whose profession is actor, but it’s L.A. after all, I can’t help but have actor friends.’ But everything that you see is 100 percent authentic and real and exactly as how the video explains it.”
In the video, a series of couples — attired in Wren’s Fall 2014 line — tentatively approach each other after being asked to kiss for the first time ever. The pairs circle each other awkwardly, then, for the most part, end up locking lips passionately — ass grabs and lip-biting included.
The cast includes the likes of Damian Kulash of OK GO, Z Berg of The Like and JJAMZ, models Natalia Bonifacci and Ingrid Schram, and actors Karim Saleh, Matthew Carey and Jill Larson.
According to Coker, the shoot was thrown together rather quickly at the end of February, and the participants were told very little before arriving. Only Coker herself and the director knew which pairs would end up together, and no one knew each other before being asked to liplock.
” ’Action’ was never called. ’Cut’ was never called,” she said. “People didn’t necessarily know when they were being filmed or not. I think that kind of adds to the really authentic, sweet, awkward moments that you see.”
Translation: Although some of the people involved are actors by trade, there was no acting in the video — so all the bumbles and nuzzles are authentic.
Coker said that her company has always tried to represent her work in surprising ways. “I want make something that’s interesting,” she said. “That I want to watch. That I want to work on. That would live beyond the seasonality of a clothing cycle. I don’t want this to feel like a commercial. The worst thing that I could imagine is watching something and there’s a closeup of, like, a shirt.”
In the past, Coker created other such videos starring the likes of Kim Gordon and Joanna Newsom, working with directors such as Gia Coppola.
When it comes to the couples — who everyone seems to be ’shipping out there on the Web — it seems like love could have been sparked between at least one pair: the two women, one of which, Soko, scored the video.
“I know [they] left the shoot together and went and spent the day in the park,” Coker said, also revealing that the two later hung out at an event.
So, you see, love isn’t that much of a lie after all.