2023 Films


Sherry Bradley and Perman Hardy met on an ordinary Friday afternoon. Amid national and international media recognition of the egregious sanitation and health challenges facing counties across the Black Belt, they helped create an extraordinary consortium of community members, academic institutions, nonprofits, and government agencies dedicated to finding practical solutions for wastewater issues throughout the Black Belt in Alabama.

The Black Belt Unincorporated Wastewater Project, UAB Sanitation Health and Equity program and other members of the Alabama Rural Water and Wastewater Management Consortium, are utilizing historic state and federal infrastructure funding to implement real solutions on the ground, transforming communities through education and bringing justice to areas that have long been overlooked and underserved for these basic needs.

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS: George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, St. Augustine Shorts Film Festival, Social Impact Film Festival, McMinnville Short Film Festival, Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival

Directed by Astrid Malter.


In this micro-short film, enjoy as a captivating poem unfolds, gently celebrating the profound beauty found in the intricate details of the Sipsey Wilderness.

This film and poem was made as part of the Alabama Poetry Delegation, a partnership between Alabama Poetry Laureate Ashley M. Jones, and the Alabama Writers Forum. It is supported by the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation.

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS: Mayfly Film Festival, George Lindsey UNA Film Festival

Directed by Poet and Intro Film Fellow Palavi Ahuja.


Dams have completely altered the species makeup, flows, and habitat of many of our most important river systems. In Alabama, home to some of the greatest biodiversity in the nation, Claiborne and Miller’s Ferry Locks and Dams have prevented migratory fish, like the sturgeon and Alabama Shad, from accessing their historic runs from the Gulf of Mexico up the Alabama River to their spawning grounds in the Cahaba River since they were built in the 1970s. These barriers have also left endangered and threatened mussels unable to reproduce and in peril of dying out. MUSSEL MEMORY explores the significance of reconnecting river systems and protecting Alabama's freshwater mussels, our natural water filtration system. Join scientists, conservationists, engineers and anglers as they fight to restore fish passage along the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers.

A project of this magnitude would culminate in the most ecologically significant river reconnection project in the history of the United States, right here in Alabama.

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS: Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Maine Outdoor Film Festival, George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, St. Augustine Shorts Film Festival, Social Impact Film Festival
Directed by Nora Long.

THEY NEVER LEFT: Indigenous Return and Reclamation in the Southeast

"We are our ancestor’s wildest dreams, and we are still here".

Some Indigenous people were never forced to leave what is now known as Alabama, and many across the continent are still intimately connected to their sacred homelands. Meet three Indigenous people who are answering their ancestor’s prayers to reclaim traditional lifeways, protect the environment, and teach us all how to better our relationships with the natural world and Native Nations.

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS: Native Lens, World Culture Film Festival, The Archaeology Channel International Film Festival, George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, St. Augustine Shorts Film Festival, Social Impact Film Festival

Directed by Quinn C. Smith.


Landfills are an out-of-sight, out-of-mind part of everyday life in America, but in Alabama, they have long been a case for noxious odors, air and water pollution, and a lax regulatory environment that leaves communities vulnerable to environmental and health hazards. In the aftermath of a 2022 landfill fire near Birmingham that raged for months, suffocating multiple counties in smoke and odor, nearby residents demanded answers. They questioned how this was allowed to happen, why this company was not held accountable for years of violations, and what could be done to demand more from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. This film holds ADEM’s feet to the fire, as non-profit organizations like Cahaba Riverkeeper, Gasp and Friends of Pinchgut Creek lead the charge to protect the water and air for nearby residents.

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS: George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, Social Impact Film Festival, Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Directed by Annie Foreman.


Director Lily Ahree Siegel goes on a playfully sardonic escapade as she ventures beyond city limits – and air conditioning – into the Sipsey Wilderness in Northwest Alabama. It is her home state, after all; a land she once passed, but never knew. Will meeting others who are in tune with the spell this area cast help reconcile that Wilderness is for her too?

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS: George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, Social Impact Film Festival
Directed by Lily Ahree Siegel.

Take Action, Get Involved

See the 2023 Films Near You!

The most effective way to spur change and make a difference is by learning about the issues and taking action—find out how you can get involved in the pressing issues featured in the Southern Exposure films by clicking on the additional information located below each film where applicable.

Special thanks to Alabama Rivers Alliance's supporters and partner groups who make the Southern Exposure films possible. Join us at an upcoming screening, or let us know if you want us to bring the films to you! Click here to learn more.