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 Program Coordinator

Category: Special places

The Accidental Environmentalist: Catherine Flowers

A mosquito bite decades ago leads Catherine Coleman Flowers on her life’s journey.

The second in the Southern Exposure series, this captivating film brings viewers into the world of Catherine Coleman Flowers, a Lowndes County, Alabama activist who became passionate about the environment when she found out that tropical diseases, like hookworm, were showing up in her community because of sewage treatment problems. Her journey to solve problems at the intersection of poverty, climate change, and politics has taken her from the Alabama Black Belt to Washington, D.C. to Switzerland and back. She shares her special connection to place and invites you in to a day in her life.
Directed by Ellen Esling.

If They Build It, What Will Come?

The Cahaba River is one of the Southeast’s most iconic river systems. Urban sprawl in the state’s largest metropolitan area has already placed a great strain on this important river system and now the proposed Cahaba Beach Road threatens to destroy the area along the Little Cahaba River that is the drinking water source for hundreds of thousands of people in the area. This film exposes the risk of building a road across an important forested stretch of river and how citizens and watershed groups are fighting to protect this precious resource. Directed by David Diaz.

Water: Plan On It

Alabama currently has no plan for how we will ensure that future generations have enough clean, affordable water. Our rivers and streams are home to more types of fish and aquatic species than any other state in the country, yet our laws do not consider how much water they need to survive. This film describes the current effort underway to develop an Alabama Water Plan and how having an abundance of water does not mean you can take it for granted without consequences.
Directed by Amelia Tyson.

Alabama the Beautiful

Alabama’s State Park System spans from the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf Coast, offering a diverse mix of terrains, ecosystems and natural wonders that are beloved by visitors and residents statewide. But keeping these precious public lands funded has been a constant battle in the face of state agency deficits and budget cuts. This is the story of those working to preserve the state parks and how Alabamians can advocate for their protection. Directed by Mary D. Recio.

Birmingham to the Gulf

For over 100 years, Alabama’s rivers have been put to work with dams and navigation locks--sometimes with high ecological costs. As these structures age and with some no longer serving their original purpose, the idea of reconnecting rivers becomes a realistic possibility. In looking comprehensively at river management decisions and questioning the impacts of dams on Alabama’s waterways, its wildlife and its people, the vitality and biodiversity of connecting Birmingham to the Gulf is imagined. Directed by Matthew Grcic.

Introduction: Southern Exposure 2015

Alabama’s scenic beauty and stunning array of natural landscapes represent some of the most unique and ecologically diverse places found on earth. But the environmental wealth found within its borders faces the modern-day reality of development interests and industrial pressures, threatening the very resources that make Alabama so special. The Southern Exposure films explore the triumphs and struggles of those working to make a difference and to protect the quality of our air and water, the places we love, and the foundation of our livelihoods.

Sharing the Secrets

After millions of years in the making, Alabama has over 4,000 caves that are explored and beloved by spelunkers from all over. With a diverse array of underground plants, animals and other organisms, conserving these massive underground formations and their delicate ecosystems is crucial. Follow some of the most enthusiastic and daring cavers into the breathtaking hidden treasures of northeast Alabama, an area that boasts one of the highest concentrations of caves in the U.S. and supports incredible cave biodiversity. Directed by Drew Perlmutter.

In Our Nature

Explore Alabama’s environment through the eyes of its young, future environmentalists at Camp McDowell, a non-profit educational organization with a mission to connect young people to their environment and promote commitment to lifelong learning. Directed by Johanna Obenda.

Forever Wild

The Forever Wild Land Trust Program created state-owned Nature Preserves and Recreation areas after Alabama voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing the program in 1992, making it the most successful conservation ballot measure in the history of the United States. Here is the inspiring story of Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust, which has been renewed for another 20 years thanks to overwhelming public support. Directed by Sebastian Lasaosa Rogers .