A first kiss is an intimate and sometimes nerve-wracking moment for any two people, but what happens if they have never met each other before?
That’s the theme that Los Angeles-based filmmaker Tatia Pilieva explores in her new video First Kiss, in which she asks 20 complete strangers to lock lips on screen – with some surprising results.
While most of the participants laugh nervously to fill the awkward silences before their kiss, many of them become passionately lost in the moment when they finally lean in.
The heartwarming video, which was made as an advertisement for clothing company Wren Studio, has already amassed more than 2.5million views.
In the beginning of the film, each of the couples is introduced to each other and they giggle apprehensively as they prepare to take part in the experiment.
‘Do we just do this any time?’ a woman asks the camera crew as she and the man she’s been paired up with look at each other with curious interest.
They both can’t help but break into laughter as they are told to kiss whenever they’re ready.
In another segment, two women giggle awkwardly as they face each other. One asks the filmmaker jokingly, ‘Can you turn off the lights?’ causing the other to laugh even more.
One of the pairs attempts to go the traditional route and shakes hands when they meet each other, and the man can help but joke: ‘Shall we make out?’
But the tone changes dramatically when the couples finally kiss, some of them discovering that they share an intense chemistry.
A man in a white T-shirt and grey beanie hat, for instance, appears very involved in kissing the blonde woman he has been paired up with.
Indeed, the two begin by holding hands lightly with their foreheads together before locking lips, with her wrapping her arms around his waist while he puts his hands lovingly on her face.
Another duo smiles as they kiss, holding each other tenderly and embracing the moment.
While these may seem like authentic first kisses between strangers, according to the credits many of the stars are professional performers who are somewhat used to being on camera.
Among the cast are three models including Langley Fox, the daughter of Mariel Hemingway.
Some of the other people involved are OK Go’s Damian Kulash, Z Berg from band The Like, singer Nicole Simone, and seven actors.
Ms Pilieva told Harper’s Bazaar that it was difficult to make the video, not least because of all the awkward silences – but that these ended up being some of the best parts.
‘I’ve directed a few sex scenes before – this was a lot harder,’ she revealed.
‘My first instinct was to call “cut” the moment people finished kissing but I painfully made myself wait and allowed the moments to breathe.