SOUTHERN EXPOSURE is a film fellowship program that is actively raising awareness about Alabama’s incredible natural resources and important environmental issues that impact all of us.  This innovative summer fellowship brings emerging filmmakers from across the country to tell authentic, engaging stories through short documentary films about Alabama’s environment — and the people who cherish it — from the mountains to the coast.

The Alabama Rivers Alliance is thrilled to announce they are assuming the role as primary sponsor of the Southern Exposure Film Fellowship program beginning in January 2018. The Southern Environmental Law Center sponsored the program from 2012 – 2016.

Made possible through the support and partnership with environmental and conservation groups across the state, Southern Exposure fellows have the opportunity to create inspiring, captivating films that give viewers a sense of how much Alabama has to offer and the importance of protecting its resources.

As a result of these poignant stories depicting the triumphs and challenges facing the state, numerous films from past fellowship years have been selected for screening in juried film festivals around the country.

Live screenings and online distribution of the films continue to reach a variety of audiences, in Alabama and across the nation, helping Southern Exposure fulfill the mission to spread awareness, appreciation and inspire action on behalf of Alabama’s environment.

To download a pdf description of the application, please click here. 


Contact Kelly Marshall at or 205-322-6395 to learn how you can host a screening of the Southern Exposure films for your organization, university or school group, colleagues, church, or others who may be interested.

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

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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

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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

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They made it really easy for us to fall in love with Alabama, especially as first timers. I think they also made it really easy for us to become concerned about this beautiful place because they opened our eyes to a very diverse range of pressing environmental needs here.

—Liza Slutskaya, 2016 Fellow

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Southern Exposure 2018 Program Director & Manager

Michele Forman is the 2018 Program Director for Southern Exposure. She is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and co-founder/Director of the Media Studies Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Given her extensive background in film, Michele has played an invaluable role in the Southern Exposure film fellowship after serving as the Program Director for 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Prior to teaching at UAB, she started her film career as Director of Development at Spike Lee's 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, and has worked on numerous highly acclaimed films. Michele received a B.A. from Harvard University, and an M.A. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Kelly Marshall joined the Alabama Rivers Alliance team in 2015 bringing significant experience in public relations and communication strategies. She serves as the program manager for Southern Exposure in 2018. She has been an avid believer in and promoter of the wealth of talent, cultural history and natural beauty throughout Alabama for as long as she can even remember. Prior to joining ARA, she managed the public relations campaigns for Birmingham Artwalk, Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival (now Sidewalk Film Festival), Birmingham Arts & Music Festival and other events throughout the state. In addition to her non-profit and event experience, Kelly has also worked on several independent films in a variety of ways, including Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Two Weeks starring Sally Field.