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Why Marriott Wants to Make Short Films

Hotel group Marriott International’s film production arm is looking to ramp up global content including reality shows and drama series in Asia Pacific following the success of its short films.

Tony Chow, Asia Pacific director of creative and content marketing at Marriott Content Studio, said while short films were initially conceived as a marketing tool for the hotels, it’s hoped that such content can be sold to other platforms.

Since the launch of Marriott Content Studio in 2014, five short films have been produced. Following “Two Bellmen” and “Two Bellmen 2,” which were set in Los Angeles and Dubai respectively, a third installment will travel to Seoul. It stars Jessica Jung, former member of K-pop group Girls’ Generation and actor Ki Hong Lee (“The Maze Runner,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.) It is scheduled to be released in late October on platforms including YouTube, and China’s Youku, as well as Marriott’s in-room channels.

Chow, who picked up a Micro Movie Award from CCTV in Guangzhou, China on August 20 for “Two Bellmen 2,” said that the group will offer hotel packages in Asia tied with the launch of the third installment of “Two Bellmen.” The third installment is about romance and family conflict — a common theme in Asian dramas — revolving around a wedding, which is a significant component of hotel businesses in the region. Chow said that with the soaring popularity of Korean dramas and K-pop in the region, it was logical to set the Asian installment of the series in Seoul. “Two Bellmen 3” – or “Two Bellmen Asia” – has given inspiration for future productions.

Marriott Content Studio also produced “French Kiss” in 2015 and “Business Unusual” this year. Both films had an average 5 million views and were featured at film festivals. “French Kiss” and “Two Bellmen” won silver awards at the 37th Annual Telly Awards this year.

“The shorts really brought in business,” Chow said. A hotel package tied in with the launch of romantic short “French Kiss” delivered revenue of some $500,000. The studio is now also looking at developing unscripted shows. David Beebe, head of Marriott Content Studio, said the studio wants to tap the group’s resources to produce unscripted shows set behind the scenes of new hotel openings. As Asia is a growth area for major hotel chains, the series is certain to include new Asian stories.

Marriott, headquartered in Maryland, U.S., has 19 brands and 4,500 properties in 88 countries. China this week became the final country to approve the proposed merger of the Marriott and Starwood chains. It had already received clearance in 40 other territories.

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