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
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.
Directed by Annie Foreman.
After a high-profile bribery scandal led to the convictions of the three powerful conspirators, the community they targeted is left in the dust to find relief from decades of toxic air and soil pollution. Community members in the North Birmingham neighborhoods of Collegeville, Harriman Park and Fairmont tell their personal stories and share their struggles, as they seek a healthier life for the generations of the future. Directed by Kristy Choi.
The public is well-aware that a failed sewage system left Jefferson County in debt and eventually bankrupt; however, sewage problems still exist throughout the state. The small community of Uniontown, a town extremely affected by failed sewage infrastructure, shows what is at stake and why these problems must be addressed. Directed by Carlos Estrada.
For the first time in Alabama, an outside industry is attempting to strip-mine and process the tar sands of northern Alabama to extract oil-rich bitumen. How will the environmental consequences of mining and processing tar sands potentially impact the community of Colbert County and its concerned citizens in the movement to preserve their water, air, and local agricultural economy? Directed by Chris Jones.
Despite the dangers revealed by catastrophic coal ash spills, political and industry pressure has delayed the adoption of the tough federal regulations needed to ensure safe disposal of coal ash. As a result, coal ash ponds and landfills continue to leak toxins into rivers, streams, and groundwater, potentially affecting the quality of drinking water supplies for Alabamians.
Directed by Nicholas Price.