We got a ton of creative freedom while still receiving a lot of support. I was so impressed with the time and energy the attorneys and staff at the Southern Environmental Law Center invested in us. I always felt trusted - what an amazing feeling to get from an organization with whom you are working.

—Kristine Stolakis, 2014 Fellow

My favorite part of Southern Exposure was meeting so many amazing people. I had a lot of fun making my film and traveling to some of the many beautiful areas of Alabama. I love what Southern Exposure represents and was honored to be a part of it!

—Mindy Keeley, 2014 Fellow

Having the chance to explore Alabama's natural landscapes, the mentorship and peer-critique process within a diverse group of filmmakers, and the networking opportunities the process brought with it gave me such a positive experience with a group of peers whose friendship and work I truly value.

—Rhonda Chan Soo, 2013 Fellow

Southern Exposure was an amazing experience – learning about the pressures on the environment, being embraced by Alabama's community of environmental advocates, soaking in beautiful natural treasures, spending a summer with a talented group of filmmakers – I couldn't recommend it more.

—Emily Fraser, 2013 Fellow

Category: Coastal protection

Alabama the Beautiful

Alabama’s State Park System spans from the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf Coast, offering a diverse mix of terrains, ecosystems and natural wonders that are beloved by visitors and residents statewide. But keeping these precious public lands funded has been a constant battle in the face of state agency deficits and budget cuts. This is the story of those working to preserve the state parks and how Alabamians can advocate for their protection. Directed by Mary D. Recio.

Herald of the Sea

Alabamians know oysters as a delicious delicacy, but they are also a crucial species that clean our waters and protect our shorelines. Already stressed due to ongoing pollution and water degradation, oyster populations were hit hard by the BP oil spill while ongoing oil and gas exploration and the potential for future spills leave them vulnerable. Through Southern Exposure’s first animated film, we trace the impacts on the ecological power of oysters as the herald of our Gulf, telling us whether our oceans are healthy or in peril. Directed by Celine Schmidt.

Oysterman

After 40 years working in the oyster industry in Bayou la Batre, Alabama, the lasting environmental and economic impacts from the BP oil spill have put one man officially out of business, and have wreaked havoc on coastal communities whose livelihoods have been changed irreparably. Through his story, trace the effects of overfishing and environmental disaster on a once-prized industry in Alabama, as many questions remain for the next generation of commercial fishermen, shrimpers and oystermen. Directed by Sami Chen.

Living Shorelines

Nearly half of Mobile Bay’s shoreline is armored with bulkheads and concrete seawalls under the assumption that they prevent erosion. Unfortunately, these hard structures are expensive, temporary, and actually cause erosion in adjacent areas, speeding the breakdown of our fragile shores. Property owners on Mobile Bay are increasingly turning to “living shorelines” as a cost-effective solution to beach erosion that also benefits the natural ecosystem and local economy. Directed by Laurence Alexander.

The Jewel of Alabama: Conserving the Tensaw Delta

Take a journey through one of the most beautiful and ecologically important hotspots on the planet: Alabama's Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Encompassing cypress swamps, marshes, and bottomland forests, this 260,000-acre area provides habitat for over 300 types of birds and over 60 rare or endangered species. Directed by Hiram Rogers.

Lost in the Wake

Two years after the 2010 BP oil spill, a devastated community on Mobile Bay, AL, continues to suffer ecologically, physically, and financially—its formerly booming fishing economy now stagnant. Hear the voices of local fisherman, scientists, doctors, and environmentalists as they describe the short-term consequences of possibly the biggest environmental catastrophe in history, and worry about what the future holds for Mobile Bay.
Directed by Katie Jewett.