Paris as Classroom

Filming Paris

How the City of Light Inspires AUP’s Creative Production Club

President of Creative Production Club, Marteena Mendelssohn

The stories we tell as a society are often inspired by the context in which we find ourselves. For AUP students, that tends to mean Paris – the joys, discoveries and sometimes challenges of life in the City of Light. Student clubs are a great outlet for these experiences, and, at AUP, students have a huge say in the kinds of clubs and organizations they create in order to express themselves.

One great example of this is the Creative Production Club, which meets once a week to channel students’ creative energy into collaborative projects. Founded in 2019 by undergraduate Allen Blackwell, the club initially aimed to provide a space for students of all experience levels to discuss film and the filmmaking process; but as the club’s current President, Marteena Mendelssohn, explains, today it takes the term “creative production” in a much broader sense, expanding to projects like scriptwriting and podcasting. “We have an event coming up this semester that’s a DJ workshop!” she says.

Marteena, who is currently a junior majoring in creative writing and minoring in film and marketing management, also notes that collaboration and peer support are key to the club’s success – club members aim to create an environment in which all students can express themselves and work together. Members have access to AUP’s in-house multimedia resources, which include film equipment loans and a production studio in the Quai d’Orsay Learning Commons, and they also make regular use of the city around them. Recent projects have seen club members create a music video for a student’s song release, working closely with the singer’s manager on creative direction, and help a local short-film director with an on-location shoot in the Bois de Boulogne forest on the edge of Paris.

The City of Light doesn’t only provide a beautiful backdrop to film in; life in Paris inspires the kind of projects on which students decide to collaborate. For some, that inspiration takes the form of a setting or location, but for Marteena it comes from people. “Paris is so inspiring because Parisians live at a specific rhythm,” says Marteena. “You see these strange little interactions between people on the metro – small everyday tensions that exist throughout the city.”

Marteena’s own project is a series of scripts for a TV show, which focuses on a group of young adults sharing an apartment in Paris and draws heavily on her experience of the city. Club members plan to help her shoot a trailer for the series, which she can add to her portfolio when pitching to production companies. “I love working with people on a creative level, because there’s a lot of vulnerability that comes with that,” says Marteena. “You see the truth in people more often when you’re in a creative space.”

Immersing yourself in an international city, full of new ways of interacting and unfamiliar stories, opens you up to new perspectives and fuels creative thought. If you’re looking for your own inspiration, apply below to join Marteena in Paris.