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
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
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
Through the personalized mentorship and support provided throughout the fellowship, I truly grew as a filmmaker, producer and storyteller, and was able to explore the beauty of Alabama. The fellowship definitely provided the steppingstones to my current career path as a video producer.
—Kaitlin McMurry, 2018 Fellow
Run by an amazing group of experienced filmmakers & passionate advocates, it's impossible to leave this program without an impressive film for your portfolio and meaningful connections to those fighting for important issues across Alabama. I wish I could be a part of this fellowship every summer!
—Celine Francois, 2021 Fellow
I truly believe that Southern Exposure is a MUST for young, southern documentary filmmakers with interests in the realm of Social and Environmental Justice. Not often do you get an opportunity like this in the South, especially one of such value and importance.
—Jeb Brackner, 2019 Fellow
This opportunity allowed me to grow as a professional in the world of environmental filmmaking & gave me skills + insights on how I can use film & media to be a powerful advocate of the natural world. I gained a better appreciation for the culture, people & nature of the beautiful state of Alabama!
—David Diaz, 2018 Fellow
JOHN HALEY (he/him) is a filmmaker from Minnesota with an interest in the intersection of documentary film and social advocacy. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame's programs in Film, Television, and Theatre and Peace Studies, John has worked with organizations such as CBS News and Art Works Projects to develop his media practice. He is currently an MFA Candidate in Documentary Media at Northwestern University. John has independently directed several short films with topics ranging from the death penalty in America to LGBTQ+ identity within the Catholic Church. These films have played at film festivals such as Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, Tallahassee Film Festival, SENE Film, Music, and Arts Festival, and the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. With the Southern Exposure fellowship, John hopes to continue to create films which tell pressing stories about the world.
JOE FAIRBANKS (he/him) is a conservationist and storyteller from Northern Minnesota. He earned his BA in Film & Media Studies at Dartmouth College and later worked as Dartmouth’s Sustainability Fellow. In 2018, Joe received Dartmouth Film & Media Studies’ J. Blair Watson Award, and in 2019 the Center for Jackson Hole named him an Emerging Leader in the fields of Conservation and Outdoor Recreation. His debut film, Homecoming - A Boundary Waters Story (2019), was a finalist in the 2020 Paddling Film Festival World Tour and premiered at Wild & Scenic Film Festival’s flagship festival.
MCKINLEIGH LAIR (she/her) is an emerging documentary filmmaker from Oklahoma who strives to illuminate issues, question preconceptions, and facilitate timely societal conversations through documentary storytelling. She has assisted on productions for The New York Times and Kartemquin Films, and currently screens for the Camden International Film Festival and POV. She has supported film festival operations at Raindance as an intern and True/False as a photographer. As the Oklahoma representative for PBS American Portrait, she shoots and edits mini documentaries about residents in the community that raised her. As a Park Scholar at Ithaca College (class of May 2019) she majored in Documentary Studies and Production, minored in Anthropology, and studied abroad in Seoul, London, and Jönköping, Sweden. Her senior thesis documentary, One Nation Under Guns, was nominated for the 2020 College Television Award ("College Emmy"). Her most recent film will premiere online with PBS during the summer of 2020.
ROBIN CRANE (they/them) is a multimedia storyteller exploring the intersection of racial, ecological and economic justice. With a focus on film and animation, they aim to spotlight community-driven solutions to the crises of our times. In addition to freelance work for nonprofits, they support communications for Pathways to Equity, coordinate media for SustainUS, and teach film with girls and non-binary youth at Reel Stories. They studied Environmental Studies and Human Centered Design at Dartmouth College and have since been learning and living at Canticle Farm in Oakland, CA. Some creations can be found at @reeverthingproject.