Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment


Peter Samuelson, MA, President


Dr. D. Andy Rice, PhD, ASPIRE Fellow at UCLA


The Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment (ASPIRE) partners with universities, community organizations, scholars, and activists to advocate for sustainability and social justice through media-focused teaching and research.  ASPIRE teaches digital media production to undergraduates of all majors to enhance their lifelong capacities to undertake social issue advocacy.

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Prior to accepting a tenure track faculty position in Film Studies and Comparative Media Studies at Miami University in Ohio, D. Andy Rice was the ASPIRE Fellow in Socially Engaged Media in the Division of Undergraduate Education at UCLA.  He is a documentary filmmaker and media studies scholar awarded his PhD in fall 2013 by the Department of Communication at UCSD. He received an MA in 20th century US Cultural History from UCSD in 2007, and graduated from the Visual and Environmental Studies Department at Harvard University in 2001 with a specialty in autobiographical, experimental, and observational film/video production. He worked as an independent filmmaker in Cambridge, MA and teaching assistant for video production classes at Harvard until 2005. After joining the Department of Communication at UCSD, he collaborated on a series of short documentaries on issues pertaining to the economic recession of 2008 and the fee increases in California’s public universities in 2009-10. Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema at UCLA is a feature documentary collaboration with director/co-producer Zeinabu Irene Davis. The film chronicles one legacy of public higher education through the story of the “LA Rebellion,” a collective of black film artists working in and through UCLA between the late 1960s and early 1990s. His feature length documentary, About Face!: Reenacting War in a Time of War (2010), explores the cultural politics of commemorating American military history after 9/11, as told through the experiences of groups that reenact battles from the American Revolutionary War in New England as Redcoats. The film premiered at the Athens International Film Festival in 2010. He has presented his written scholarship at numerous national and international conferences, including Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Digital Media and Learning, and the Cultural Studies Association.  As a media theorist, he analyzes the affective experiences of documentary camerawork and historical reenactment.  Case studies in his current book project, provisionally titled Performing Sensory Cinema: Documentary, Simulation, and Historical Reenactment, focus on three performance settings: ethnographic films about American masculinity after 2008; “cultural awareness” training simulations in the military during the Iraq War; and the evocation of lynching history in post-2000 photographic exhibitions, activist reenactments, and documentary films. He was awarded the distinction of top dissertation scholar by the African and African-American Studies Research Center at UCSD in 2013.

Thirteen of the filmmakers at the Hammer Museum in 2011 pose for photographs after discussing the legacy of their work.  Part of an unprecedented, month long exhibition on the LA Rebellion for the Pacific Standard Time initiative on the arts in Los Angeles.  Click to see the trailer for Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema at UCLA.