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 of the application, please click here.



with Little River Waterkeeper

Little River Canyon Center

September 26, 2019 | 6 - 8 pm

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as part of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Sidewalk Cinema

October 20, 2019 | 2 - 6 pm

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as part of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Straight to Ale Brewing Company's Art Room

January 11, 2020 | 2 - 5 pm & 6 - 9 pm

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Contact Kelly Marshall at [email protected] 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 and 2018-19 Program Coordinator

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My experience in Alabama in 2014 had a profound impact on me as a filmmaker, but more importantly I linked up with a great posse of friends and collaborators.

—Chris Jones, 2014 Fellow

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Southern Exposure 2019 Program Director & Coordinator

Michele Forman is the 2019 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.

Liza Slutskaya is the 2019 Program Coordinator and ARA is lucky to have her for the second year! In 2016, after completing her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Film production at Johns Hopkins University, Liza participated in the Southern Exposure Film Fellowship program and created the short film Good Housekeeping, highlighting the unjust burden of utility costs and lack of energy efficiency options for lower-income communities in the state. After falling in love with Alabama during her fellowship year, Liza decided to move back to Birmingham in 2017 and happily returns to her Southern Exposure family as this years’ program coordinator.

In addition to her love of filmmaking, she also has a passion for elderly care and is a certified nursing assistant with five years experience in assisted living. Aside from all of the wonderful opportunities and friendships that have come her way during her time in the state, Liza’s favorite part of living in Alabama has been rescuing her dumpster cat, Salo, who spends the better part of his days lounging on his back and running away from the various insects that visit his home in America’s Amazon.