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
SPECIAL POET FELLOW Palavi Ahuja (she/her) is a filmmaker and poet from Birmingham, Alabama. She earned her BA in English w/ a concentration in Literature as well as in Media Studies from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She is currently working on her MFA in Poetry from Columbia University in New York. Palavi’s experiences as an Indian woman in America strongly impacts her work, often merging the realms of spoken word poetry and filmmaking. She tells visually and rhythmically impactful stories of her cultural identity and family history. Her film, Letters from an Avalanche, is a documentation of her journey as a writer and filmmaker through the lens of an entity much larger than ourselves—avalanches. It was screened at the 2022 Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham. Her poetry is featured in University of Central Missouri’s literary journal of new writing and reviews, Pleiades. Her interests in both film and poetry often lend themselves to one another and she hopes to continue to find new ways to make the two disciplines mix.
Annie Foreman (she/her) is an emerging filmmaker from Huntsville, Alabama. She is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Film at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her first experience in documentary filmmaking was for an Ethnographic Filmmaking class where she created a short documentary about a landfill fire in Moody, Alabama. Through this experience, Annie discovered her passion for storytelling and advocating for communities through film. She adores the outdoors and has developed an interest in environmentalism during her time in Birmingham, speaking to nonprofits such as GASP and Cahaba Riverkeeper. Annie loves that the filmmaking process gives her an outlet to explore these passions and connect with people.
Nora Long (she/her) is a producer, director, and cinematographer dedicated to creating impact-focused, deeply inspired, carefully crafted digital content. Her work spans narrative and documentary films, as well as episodic, branded, and commercial content, with an emphasis on stories centered around the environment, animal rights, as well as gender and wealth inequality. She strives to use moving imagery as a medium for positive social change, exploration, and advocacy. She holds an MFA in Film & Television from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and a Bachelor's Degree in Film, Video, and Theatre from Stevenson University. She is also an alumna of the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Astrid Malter (she/her) is a filmmaker and printmaker from Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Cinema & Media Studies from Carleton College in Minnesota. Her senior thesis film, The Sixth Borough, premiered at the Coney Island Film Festival and screened at the Downstream Environmental Film Festival. Her 2-D work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Weitz Center for Creativity. She hopes to use her creativity in the service of others, and she will never stop learning!
Lily Ahree Siegel (she/her) is an award-winning documentary producer/director from Birmingham, Alabama, with work showcasing on Netflix, PBS, Slamdance Film Festival and was shortlisted as a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Student.
Her storytelling started at age four when she began illustrating in sketchbooks. Eventually, she progressed to conceptual video art/installation and then to filmmaking after watching "Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse" (The Gleaners and I) directed by Agnes Varda. Her learned experience as a person with many intersectional identities has a huge influence on her work.
Lily holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a MA in Directing Documentary from the National Film and Television School in the UK. She is currently living and working in London, but looks forward to spending the summer back in Alabama.
Quinn Smith (he/they) is a Chickasaw/Choctaw documentarian and writer who utilizes storytelling to advance the flourishing of Indigenous peoples and the environment. He earned his BA in Public Policy from Duke University in 2023 and won the Terry Sanford Leadership Award for his advocacy work as President of the Native American/Indigenous Student Alliance.
He has directed creative projects for the U.S. Department of the Interior, All My Relations Podcast, Duke Gardens, as well as several independent documentaries and multimedia exhibits. Quinn also worked for Tripod Media on the Netflix documentary "Pamela: A Love Story". As a freelance writer, Quinn has written about Native American history and contemporary issues for Ancestry.com and ClickView Education.
After Southern Exposure, Quinn will spend 10 months through the Hart Fellowship working for the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, a non-profit advancing Indigenous land guardianship and connecting First Nation environmental justice movements across Canada.