French Publicist Caroline Maréchal Brings Silver Screen Creativity to Public Relations

Publicist Caroline Maréchal

While talented actors, directors and film crew are critical to create a high-quality film, it takes another kind of talent and mindset to generate publicity and sell tickets. In order to ensure success at the box office, movie publishers lean on the expertise of professionals like French publicist Caroline Maréchal.

Maréchal’s career spans an impressive two decades at publishers like Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. in France, where she has honed her out-of-the-box approach to public relations while working on franchises and films such as “Shrek,” “Fast and Furious,” “Joker,” “Dunkirk,” and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” just to name a few. 

The role of a publicist, especially in the entertainment industry, is packed with responsibilities. “I feel that to be a good public relations specialist you need to be a strong leader and self-starter who has the ability to lead relevant film campaigns from the ground up,” explained Maréchal. “As a publicist, your responsibilities include creating campaign strategies, organizing press events, developing materials such as status reports and press releases, and managing budgets.”

(Left to Right) Nicholas Hoult, Charlize Theron, George Miller, Tom Hardy, Doug Mitchell and Margaret Sixel at the “Mad Max: Fury Road” Press Conference at the Cannes Film Festival organized by Caroline Maréchal

All of these responsibilities, however, are just the bare minimum for making an impact with the entertainment press, who are constantly inundated with pitches from filmmakers and artists looking to get their share of the spotlight. To truly stand out in this hyper-competitive industry, a publicist needs to get creative. 

Maréchal has conquered many challenges throughout her career in this high-stakes industry, but one of her standout accomplishments was creating “Christmas Day,” an opportunity for French media to rendezvous in Paris and get the scoop on all the upcoming releases from Warner Bros. While she was in charge of all cross-divisional publicity activities at Warner Bros., Maréchal dreamed up this idea as a way to generate publicity for multiple franchises and activities at once, while entertaining French journalists—and even their families—during the holiday season. 

The inaugural “Christmas Day” press event was held at La Cour des Marais, a beautiful hotel in the center of Paris, and more than 100 journalists attended two press conferences, as well as many showrooms themed around Warner Bros. films and franchises such as “Harry Potter,” “The Batman,” “The Hobbit,” and the studio’s long-time partner, Lego®.

When asked about the challenges she faced in pulling this event together, Maréchal said, “I had to navigate many varied deadlines and processes of the different divisions at Warner Bros. such as games, television, and consumer products, as well as film and home entertainment. To do this, I organized many meetings with these different divisions and put in place a follow-up process to coordinate and satisfy all involved parties.”

Maréchal’s hard work paid off in the end, as the event was a huge success that generated great publicity for Warner Bros.’ franchises. Even more impressive however, is the fact that “Christmas Day” is still a hotly anticipated annual event that is well-attended by the French media.

“Caroline always had plenty of great ideas to promote the Warner Bros. portfolio, and when she pitched us her Christmas Day project, we knew it would be fantastic,” said Executive Marketing Director Celine Morel from the Home Entertainment division at Warner Bros. France. “Caroline demonstrated significant negotiating and budgeting skills, and she also knew how to best organize and mobilize all the teams each year.”

While creating a long-standing press tradition in Paris is a big accomplishment, Caroline Maréchal didn’t rest. When she was tasked with generating publicity for the film “Edge of Tomorrow,” Maréchal and her team pulled off one of the most ambitious film premieres in history. 

Film poster for “Edge of Tomorrow”

To play into the “time looping” theme of the film, Warner Bros. decided to have three premiere screenings in one day: one in the morning in London, one at noon in Paris, and one in the evening in New York. The cast, including Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, as well as 10 worldwide journalists would be traveling together on the same plane for these events. Maréchal was given the monumental task of organizing, coordinating, and executing this far-reaching concept. 

From securing flight tickets and booking venues to navigating traffic in some of the world’s biggest cities, Caroline Maréchal and her team achieved the impossible. “The key to our success was anticipating the many different scenarios and things that could go wrong, which helped us stay on schedule,” Maréchal remarked. “The event was a big success, and all three screenings happened in one day as expected, without any delay.”

Tom Cruise at the “Edge of Tomorrow” Fan Event Premiere in Paris Organized by Caroline Maréchal

“This was one of the first International tours at Warner Bros.; I was a bit nervous, but Caroline was working with me on this project and demonstrated strong leadership and team management skills,” said Guillaume Lecannelié, former event manager at Warner Bros. “Caroline has the natural ability to make everyone comfortable and confident while asking them to push themselves and give the very best.”

As films continue to innovate and evolve, so must the tactics used to promote them. Creativity is not just essential for the creation of a movie; it’s increasingly important for generating publicity. That’s why brilliant publicists, like Caroline Maréchal, have a bright future ahead of them in the entertainment industry.

Rose Wardle on new series ‘Auditions’, blockbuster franchises and more

Critically acclaimed actress Rose Wardle, known to British audiences for her work in ‘Shortflix’ and much-loved film ‘Mr Alan on Saturday’, is the first to let anyone know that she’s not swayed by the glitz and glamour of her industry.

Such is the commitment to her craft that the Oxford native recently worked with one of the stars of ‘Harry Potter’ spinoff franchise, one of the most expensive (and financially successful) British film franchises in recent years, yet didn’t bat an eyelid when asked about the experience. 

“It doesn’t really matter who’s done what – I think any director ultimately just cares about what’s happening in that scene, in that story, at that particular moment,” Wardle states humbly.

Wardle’s memorable starring turn in a slew of series, including ‘Auditions’ and ‘Through the Bone’, sees the stage veteran appear alongside a whos-who of British heavyweights, including Simon Wan. 

Mr Wan is well-known to TV lovers everywhere for his role in acclaimed series ‘Peaky Blinders’ and, of course, his scene-stealing appearance in the ‘Fantastic Beasts- Harry Potter’ spin-off blockbuster franchise.  

What interested the entire cast and crew however, Wardle explains, was the story and its empathetic exploration into relationships and the issues they force any individual to confront, both with others and within themselves. 

The story follows Maeve and John who are involved in a love affair of sorts. John has been married throughout their ‘relationship’, and the audience meets them at the point where his marriage has ended. 

Maeve is faced with the realisation that whilst she’s enjoyed playing a mistress role, she hasn’t really had a say in the idea of it being a ‘forever’ relationship. With this, Maeve has concealed parts of herself from John, including a chronic illness which affects her on a daily basis. 

The heavy subject matter may have frightened any actor, but Wardle took on the story as an artistic and emotional challenge which, she says, enriched her in many ways. Wardle’s performance itself, to any critic, is undoubtedly an artistic accomplishment worth noting. 

“Historically, chronic pain and invisible illnesses have been depicted incorrectly, in both TV and film. It felt both challenging and rewarding to be a part of a project that gives a more honest portrayal of the daily issues sufferers tend to face,” she explains.

The series no doubt will continue to attract even greater attention from international audiences and streaming lovers when Wan’s starring turn opposite Oscar-winner Mel Gibson in Lionsgate series ‘The Continental’ debuts internationally in 2022. 

The credence of each cast member’s productions only further reinforces the pinnacle at which Wardle currently finds herself, blessed with opportunities left-right-and center. That being said, for this trained actress, there’s no fundamental difference between the projects she’s busy shooting now and the short films she made while at drama school. 

“There’s no difference in the role preparation and filming other than the scale of the production itself, and it’s such a gradual and long journey as an actor, so we all just take it day by day.”

This humble attitude no doubt served Wardle well in the popular series, ‘Auditions’, co-starring British actress and household name, Jessica Plummer and award-winning actress, Letitia Hector. 

Wardle (left) filming ‘Auditions’ with Jessica Plummer (right).

“Auditions was super fun because the director, Sheridan De Myers, gave me a lot of space to play around with the character & ultimately make her as bizarre as possible!” exclaimed Wardle.

Rose stars as Belinda, who has to deal with the effect her success has on her housemate, Amy, whilst they both compete to land acting gigs. Without Wardle and Plummer’s excellent onscreen chemistry, any viewer could safely say that the show wouldn’t have been as hilarious.

It’s clear that Wardle’s character broadly builds out the dynamic story of the project and its artistic tone, based on both Wardle’s refined acting skills and life experiences. 

When pressed, one UK film professional said quite simply, “It’s a piece centered on the film industry, within a specific culture, and Rose’s performance was integral to the sale and distribution of the project as a whole.” 

Rose in hilarious character-mode filming ‘Auditions.’

Shlok Shukla: Producing Films with Substance

Producer Shlok Shukla on set of “Flesh Fresh”

“Content is king.” You’ve probably heard this phrase; better yet, you experience its meaning every day. In a world of scrolling newsfeeds, unoriginal remakes, and generic concepts being pumped out for a mass audience, every day it seems a bit harder to come across meaningful ideas in film. When corporate shareholders and investors are only concerned with superficial metrics and viewership numbers, bold and original scripts are often overlooked.

For producer Shlok Shukla, however, there’s much more to a film than its profit-generating potential. Shukla, a graduate of the New York Film Academy’s screenwriting program, isn’t just a producer; in fact, two of his feature-length screenplays have won multiple awards, including “Best Script” and “Best Dialogue,” at film festivals worldwide such as the Cult Valley Global Cinefest, American Filmatic Arts Awards, and Rome Prisma Film Awards.

So when Shukla is on the lookout for a new project to take on, he’s interested far more in the emotional and intellectual content of the scripts that come across his desk. “Personally,” Shukla began, “Any script with a message of change or growth, regardless of genre, is one that I’ll likely be interested in.” He continued, “Of course, I have to consider the project’s commercial viability as well as its message—but a promising script will strike a balance between the two.”

Shukla’s track record speaks for itself. One of his recent films, a music video titled “Young Soul,” was an incredibly special project that was created, in secret, as a gift for Ale Solar, lead singer of the Chilean rock band Temple Agents. “Young Soul” is a celebration of the life of Solar’s recently deceased father, lovingly crafted by Shukla and Solar’s closest friends.

This project initially came to Shlok’s attention via his partner at I’m Not Famous Films, Julian Santiesteban, who had worked with Temple Agents in the past. This existing chemistry made the process much easier, and much more meaningful for Shukla, who was very excited to work with Temple Agents on this film. “Having lost people close to us, especially in the pandemic, Julian and I felt attached to this from the get go,” Shukla said. “The ‘Young Soul’ video just felt like such a personal gift, and we were honored to produce it alongside Ale’s bandmates.”

(Left to Right) Producer Shlok Shukla, and production assistant Natasha Lewis on set of “Young Soul.” Photo by Elizabeth Collins

Shlok handled everything from writing an initial script for the project to budgeting and scouting locations for the shoot; even post-production duties and the eventual release and distribution of the music video on the band’s YouTube channel.

Santiesteban had nothing but praise for Shlok’s efforts after production had wrapped: “Shlok is a very professional person, with outstanding soft skills, which helps production teams to feel easy and comfortable while at work. This empathetic approach to work, plus his creative skills, make Shlok a valuable asset on set and during other stages of production.”

More recently, Shlok has been involved in the production of a feature-length film, titled “Love is a Game,” that delves into the nuances of a queer relationship on the rocks. The story follows Ellie and Mia as they return from a dinner that didn’t go quite as planned.

Based on his previous work, Shukla was approached by the film’s director, Lu Mendoza, to produce “Love is a Game.” After reading the script, Shukla was moved by the relationship between the characters, and was eager to get involved. “This film presents a very honest, ordinary, and relatable portrayal of an LGBTQ+ couple at their most vulnerable state,” Shukla remarked. “Ellie’s and Mia’s relationship is full of love and intimacy, while at the same time, in its final moments, it is also rife with despair and heartbreak—a scenario that we can all relate to.”

Mendoza has been thrilled to have Shukla on board for her film’s production. “Shlok is a great listener and problem solver,” Lu Mendoza said of Shukla. “He goes the extra mile, regardless of how small or big the project is, and he takes care of the project as if it was his own.”

At the time of writing, Shukla and the crew have wrapped pre-production, and filming will begin shortly. “Love is a Game” is slated for release in late June, 2022.

With an eye for moving stories with impactful messages, Shlok Shukla is committed to bringing fresh, meaningful films to life. His is a welcome mission in today’s entertainment market. Combining his business acumen as a producer and his passion for storytelling, Shukla is poised to leave an incredible legacy in Hollywood. He is also the producer behind the films “ALonely,” “Let’s Ride” and “Flesh Fresh.”

(Left to Right) Producer Shlok Shukla, cinematographer Joshua Fraser and actors Benjamin Williams and Kevin Amaya on set of “ALonely.” Photo by Gino Villanueva