ASPIRE



Documentary Production for Social Change: Mobility in Los Angeles
Urban Planning/Disability Studies M164A
Fall 2014, Tue 3-6 in La Kretz 100 and Fri 2-5 in Powell 320B
Instructor: Dr. D. Andy Rice, ASPIRE Fellow in Socially Engaged Media


Description: This course will explore the affordances of documentary filmmaking and social media for catalyzing social change. Our case studies will center on questions about mobility in Los Angeles, in particular on relationships between structures of power and the movement of people and goods in everyday life. We will consider issues of neighborhood density and access to public transit; race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and class on the experiences of commuting; inequities in access to healthy food; and car-based versus active (bike and pedestrian) transportation infrastructures. We will look at social media communication strategies to help us think through intervention in the face of historically entrenched transit and land use policy platforms, which remain highly favorable to car and property owners. In addition to conversations about a small number of topical readings, the course will grapple with such questions through video production.

Exercises along the way will introduce students to observational, interview-based, participatory, and performative documentary shooting and editing techniques. Weekly film screenings and discussions will explore avenues for using media production as a tool for promoting social justice. We will also devise best practices through practice for employing the social marketing strategies that have become an inescapable part of documentary production and distribution. Students will develop relationships over the quarter with a campus or community organization invested in alternative commuting, environmental sustainability, food justice, health equity, or a related set of concerns. The course will conclude with screenings of student work that will be open to members of the public, partner organizations, and subjects of films. The goals of this course are thus twofold. First, the course will teach students technically and conceptually how to undertake longer nonfiction video production projects of their own in the future. Second, the course will lead students to explore, understand, and meaningfully contribute to an ongoing dialogue amongst policy makers, academics, and everyday people about access, environment, and equity for the future of Los Angeles. Expect 6-9 hours of work per week outside of class time.


Note: Access to audio-visual equipment and video editing software will be provided free-of-charge to students enrolled in the course.


This course is generously funded by the Academy for Social Progress in Responsible Entertainment (ASPIRE). Many thanks to Undergraduate Education Initiatives, the Luskin Center for Public Affairs, Powell Library, and the Charles E. Young Research Library for facilitating spaces for class sessions.

See student work from Spring 2014 here.

Diasporic Nonfiction: Media Engagements with Memory and Displacement
African-American Studies M170A and Chicana/o Studies M140A
Winter 2015: Tue 3-5:50PM, Powell Library 320B and Thur 3-5:50PM, MS 3915A
Instructor: Dr. D. Andy Rice, ASPIRE Fellow in Socially Engaged Media
Office Hours: Powell Library Inquiry Space, 2nd Floor


Description: This video production course will emphasize autobiographical, critical, and performance-based modes of nonfiction media making, drawing on the practices of diasporic filmmakers who have grappled with suppressed collective memories of displacement, trauma, exile, and migration. Readings, discussions, and video projects will grapple with the following overarching question: what does it mean to make videos about memory in places where the direct cues to remembering cannot be seen? A weekly lecture will introduce and situate concepts from films and readings. Production assignments and screenings will focus on questions of how to represent history, memory, family dynamics, and lived experience according to the perspectives and interests of diasporic subjects. Student work should interrogate relations of power that force certain kinds of movement amongst diasporic peoples. Readings and films will be drawn from the LA Rebellion filmmakers, postcolonial documentary theorists, performance scholars, and theorists of experimental ethnography. Production assignments will require students to practice environmental recording, the writing of voiceover, elicitation interviewing, and reenactment staging as documentary production tools. These projects will be screened and discussed at the end of the quarter in a public screening. Students will be responsible for writing reflexive paper about this experience, as well as developing a proposal for a longer project they will undertake in the spring quarter. This video will be centered in a particular collective that students believe to have important social or cultural implications.

Note: Access to audio-visual equipment and video editing software will be provided free-of-charge to students enrolled in the course.

Expect 6-9 hours of work per week outside of class time. Students are required to complete both quarters of the course series. Admission by application and instructor permission. Email Dr. D. Andy Rice with queries.